Portrait of Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov of Dawe

Portrait of Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov of Dawe
Portrait of Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov of Dawe
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This great work (361 x 258) was made by the English painter Georges Dawe (1781 – 1829), who spent the last ten years of his life in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg where he was invited by Tsar Alexander I to paint the portraits of all the generals who fought against Napoleon Bonapartewhich they defeated, awarding a memorable Russian victory. And among them was Mikhail Kutuzov, who would later be appointed Marshal.

Portrait of Mikhail Kutuzov of Dawe

Portrait of Mikhail Kutuzov by Dawe

And although that was the initial reason for the trip to Russia, the truth is that Dawe was getting more commissions, that's why he stayed there. And that's also why there are many of his works in the Hermitage Museum, and of course there are all the ones commissioned by the Tsar and this portrait of the Marshal.

Since several years had passed since those battles against Napoleon, the truth is that some of the generals who fought had already died by then, such asKutuzov. That is why he needed models that would provide him with the physical appearance of these characters, since they were paintings that his family and people who knew them in life would see and they had to look alike. So to achieve those similarities he had to resort to portraits that other painters had made of them, and in the case of this marshal, he only based hisface in the life portrait that the painter Volkov had done.

Introduces us to the full-length soldier, located under a fir tree and on a snowy background, supposedly pointing to the specific place where the final battle was fought. So far all the most official elements. However, the artist is capable not only of carrying out a commission, but he pours all his mastery into it.

Portrait of Alexander Ermolov of Dawe

Portrait of Alexander Ermolov of Dawe

However, his pictorial ability is shown to us much more in other of the portraits he made from life such as that ofAlexander Ermolov, whom we see in a violent foreshortening almost, almost backwards. A portrait so outlined that it almost looks like a bronze bust.

In short, all these official portraits made by Georges Dawe show us the work of an excellent painter, who goes beyond the official, and is capable of capturing all his instinct as a fine observer and psychologist, managing to represent the personal character of those portrayed. For this reason, the works he made from life with characters with whom he chatted are more complete than the posthumous portraits in this collection.

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