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Self-portrait of Alexei Antropov was painted in 1784. Antropov is considered one of the first artists of Russia, who began to work in the technique of portraiture, including portraying secular persons. Mostly he worked in St. Petersburg, but also in Moscow, was engaged in the restoration of church frescoes in Kiev. His preferred technique was oil painting, but he also painted miniatures and icons.
Alex was born in the family of a government official who worked in the Armory and in the office. Since 1732, Alexei worked in the office under the leadership of his relative Andrei Matveev. As a member of a group of painters, Alexey participated in the painting of the Summer, Winter and Anichkov Palace, as well as other buildings of St. Petersburg.
Antropov studied portraiture at the court painter Louis Caravac of France. In the late 1750s, he received the rank of master artist. In 1752-1755 he worked on the interiors of the Kiev Kiev Church: he directed the installation of the iconostasis, frescoes painting of domes and walls.
In 1759, Antropov returned to St. Petersburg and continued his studies in portraiture with the court painter Pietro Rotari from Italy. Historians believe that his portrait of Izmailov is a kind of graduation work. The 1760s were probably the most productive period of the artist. He painted many good portraits, including the portrait of Ataman Krasnoshchekov, Rumyantseva. Then Antropov got a job at the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, where he directed icon painting, decorated churches, painted portraits of church hierarchs and oversaw students.
In 1762, Peter III became the new emperor. Antropov soon became his favorite artist. During the six months of the reign of Peter III, Antropov painted four times painted the monarch. After the uprising, the new empress Catherine II had a much lower opinion of Antropov’s talents. At that time, artists preferred soft color combinations, which are considered somewhat flattering for ceremonial portraits. Antropov preferred traditional baroque portraits based on the sharp contrast of colors with a dark background.
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