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"Moscow Senator Ivan Vladimirovich Lopukhin", very important miniature on ivory, 1802/03
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Acquired in June 2014 through Swiss antique trade, this superior quality (oil and watercolor on ivory) miniature turned out to be an extremely important and absolutely unknown to art historians, portrait of the famous Russian freemason, Senator Ivan Vladimirovich Lopukhin. In our portrait, he is depicted in uniform of Russian Senate member (he was appointed still in 1797, but the uniform's model is that which was introduced in late December of 1801) with a sash and breast star of St. Anna Order of the 1st class (the order conferral took place in the same (1797) year) and Commander Cross of (introduced by Paul I in November of 1798) the Russian Maltese (St. John) Order (documents of this period that have until today survived in Russian archives name the exact date of this particular conferral - 20th of November 1800).
It is in the very same uniform and same array of awards that Lopukhin is depicted in the widely known portrait by Dmitry Grigorievich Levitzky housed in the Tretyakov Gallery (see our image nr.7). However, Levitzky's portrait is chronologically estimated as having been made between 1803 and 1804; additionally, in this portrait, the sitter's hair-style already corresponds to the fashion of the early 1800's. On the other hand, "our" Lopukhin still wears his hair (ringlets and long pigtail) in late-18th-century fashion.
Nevertheless, after the reading of Lopukhin's memoirs (see below) we realized the main reason for dating (1803-1804) of Levitzky painting: staying permanently in Moscow or provinces Lopukhin came again to St. Petersburg (where lived Levitzky first (!) in March of 1803. He remained in the Russian capital until August 1804 before he returned to Moscow. We rather believe that due to sitter's still 18th century hairslyle the miniature was made by 1st-class Russian (Moscow?) miniaturist before (!) his 1803 arrival to St.Petersburg, namely between January of 1802 (new uniform's model) and March of 1803.
Ivan Vladimirovich Lopukhin was born on the 24th of February 1756 at his parents' estate in village Voskresenskoye-Retyazhi, Kromski uezd, Orlovskaya gubernia, into an ancient, noble and wealthy Russian family. He spent his childhood between Kiev (his father - then major-general and later general-poruchik - Vladimir Ivanovich Lopukhin (1709-1797; see our image nr.16) was in 1756 appointed "ober-komendant" (town's mayor) of that city) and his family's estate in Retyazhi. It is interesting to note that his father was half-cousin of Tsarevich Alexei, the unfortunate son of Peter the Great, for his first cousin once removed was the first wife of Peter I, Tsarina E.F. Lopukhina.
Shortly following his birth, as a nobleman's son, Ivan Vladimirovich was inscribed into the Guards. However, his factual military service began 19 years later: in 1775, as a "praporshchik" (ensign), he joined the Preobrazhensky Life-Guad Regiment. Although he was rapidly ascending the career ladder and already by 1782 carried the rank of a colonel, he nevertheless (due to health reasons) moved from military into civil service in the same (1782) year. He began as a counselor in Moscow and sometime later became the President of the Moscow Criminal Court. He was installed in this function from 1782 to 1785. In this period, alongside with being introduced by his friend, writer Nikolai Novikov, to Rosicrucianism (CLICK HERE), Martinism (CLICK HERE) and Freemasonry (CLICK HERE), Lopukhin (while concurrently attending to his official duties) also began a writer's and editor's career. In that time, he counted among his freemasonic friends (besides Novikov) such personalities as Prince N.V. Repin, A.M. Kutuzov and O.A. Pozdeev.
The year 1792 marked the beginning of Mason-baiting initiated by Catherine II. Some of the leaders of this movement were arrested (alike Novikov), some - sent into exiles to their country estates. Recalling his ill father's past endeavors, authorities ordered Lopukhin to return to his family's country estate and confiscated most of his Moscow property, only to (he gave a honest nobleman's promise to abandon any freemasonic activities) allow him to stay in Moscow, under police' spoken and unspoken surveillance.
Upon the enthronement of Paul I (November 1796), who was Freemasons' patron, Lopukhin state of affairs changed dramatically. He was ordered to travel to St. Petersburg, where he was appointed the Emperor's State-Secretary and at the same time promoted to "deistvitelny statski sovetnik" (factual state counselor). However, the Emperor's favors were rather short-lived and, already in one and a half month (in January 1797) he was appointed Senator in Moscow, where he proceeded without delay.
While exercising his duties of a Senator, Lopukhin remained true to his past humanistic views. He was often traveling on duty, often deep into the country, revisiting Kazan, Vyatka and Orenburg gubernias.
One shall particularly note that in 1801, new Tsar Alexander I asked Lopukhin to investigate complains of the "doukhobors" (CLICK HERE and HERE) in Ukraine. Consequently, Lopukhin's reports led to their resettlement to Molochnaya River region (now in Zaporozhskaya oblast'), along with other religious minorities.
Apart from that, between the years 1802 and 1805, Lopukhin served as the head of commission in charge of Crimean issues (he traveled to Crimea in order to settle a land quarrel between Tatars and Russian landowners (…!!! - B.W.)).
In 1807 he was raised by Alexander I to "deistvitelny tainy sovetnik" (actual privy counselor) and in 1809 was awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky.
In August 1812, as Napoleon's troops advanced toward Moscow, he moved from the city to his estate in village Savinskoye outside of Moscow. Sometime later he moved to his native estate in Retyazhi in Orlovskaya gubernia. The estate house was a wooden two-floor building (it no longer exists). Lopukhin was there the owner of ca. 100 house- and 900 peasant-serfs.
In February 1814, in Retyazhi, possibly in honor of his birthday, Lopukhin was visited by the well-known poet, Vasili Alexandrovich Zhukovsky, to whom Lopukhin presented his essay about the "doukhobors".
In the same (1814) year, he published his next work in gubernial town Oryol. He gave it the title "Some Thoughts for Contemplation about Prayer and Essence of Christianity". This year also marked by two other important events: Ivan Vladimirovich married Matrena Yefimovna Nikitina (daughter of a Moscow merchant) and joined the "Bible Society".
Ivan Vladimirovich Lopukhin died in Voskresenskoe-Retyazhi on the 22nd of June 1816. He was buried not far from his house, near the Voskresenskaya Church (it was built in 1765 by his father - see our image nr.15).
Sadly, his grave did not survive until today.
For Lopukhin's memoirs published in 1860 in London CLICK HERE .
We are very grateful to Mr. Sergei A. Popov (currently the best specialist in Russian civil uniforms) for his generous help
Condition: good; in original frame
Creation Year: 1802/03
Measurements: UNFRAMED:7,5x6,1cm/3,0x2,4in FRAMED: 8,2x6,8cm/3,2x2,7in
Object Type: Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: oil and watercolor on ivory
Creator: Russian School
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: -
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