The Tretyakov Gallery’s collection often features portraits of persons from the world of theater. In 1782, D.G. Levitsky painted a portrait of Italian actress Anna Davia-Bernuzzi. Repin’s images of Pelageya Strepetova and Eleonora Duse are masterpieces of his portraiture. In 1823, Kiprensky returned from abroad and “with particular zeal” tried to capture his contemporaries. The background of his models was unimportant for him. After the elegant portrait of A.F. Shishmareva, he created a portrait of E. A. Teleshyova, who bore six children to Shishmarev. Ekaterina Teleshyova (1804–1857), after graduating from the St. Petersburg Theatre School (class of C. Didelot and E. I. Kolosova), was employed as a soloist in the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theater in 1821. She is depicted dressed as Zelia from the ballet Hunting Adventures. The flowers in her hand are meaningful: chamomile, cornflower and ears indicate the thriving world of plants and symbolise the fragility of earthly existence. In 1828, having completed the ballerina’s portrait, the artist left again for Italy.
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