Levytsky, Dmytro H.
Levytsky, Dmytro H. [Левицький, Дмитро; Levyc’kyj; Russian: Levitsky, Dmitrii], b 1735 in Kyiv, d 16 April 1822 in Saint Petersburg. The most prominent portraitist of the classicist era in the Russian Empire. He acquired his basic training from his father, Hryhorii K. Levytsky, and helped him do engravings for the Kyivan Cave Monastery Press. In 1753–6 he helped his father and Aleksei Antropov decorate Saint Andrew's Church in Kyiv. From 1758 to 1761 he worked in Saint Petersburg, where he likely studied with Antropov, L.-J.-F. Lagrené, and G. Valeriani. From 1762, while living in Moscow he was a portraitist in great demand among the Russian aristocracy. He moved to Saint Petersburg in 1769, and he won the highest award at the summer exhibition in 1770 held by the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts and was elected a member of the academy. Together with a number of his Ukrainian compatriots in Saint Petersburg, Levytsky was an active Freemason and member of Saint Petersburg’s Masonic lodge. A teacher of portraiture at the academy (1771–88), he retired to Ukraine in 1788, but in 1795 he returned to Saint Petersburg to become portraitist at the imperial court.
Building on the baroque, classicism, and Western European traditions, Levytsky created a school of portrait painting. His portraits reveal his expert knowledge of drawing, composition, color, and the appropriate gesture. He executed over 100 portraits, including ones of Empress Catherine II (Portrait of Catherine II, 1783), other members of the Russian imperial family, King Stanislaus I Leszczyński, the French encyclopedist Denis Diderot (Portrait of Denis Diderot, now in the Geneva Museum of Art and History), his own father, Hryhorii K. Levytsky (Portrait of Hryhorii Levytsky), as well as brother and daughter (Portrait of the Artist's Daughter), and six of the first graduates of the Smolny Institute for aristocrats' daughters. One of his paintings (Portrait of Princess Mariia Narychkina, 1773–4) is in the permanent collection of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Many Ukrainian (eg, L. Myrypolsky, S. Maiatsky, L. Kalynovsky) and Russian portraitists studied with Levytsky at the academy, and his works influenced the second most prominent portraitist of this period in the Russian Empire, Volodymyr Borovykovsky.
Horlenko, V. Dmytro Levyts'kyi (Poltava 1919)
Chukin, I. Dmytro Levyts'kyi (Kharkiv 1930)
Moleva, N.M. Dmitrii Grigor'evich Levitskii (Moscow 1980)
Iablonskaia, T. (comp). Levitskii (Moscow 1985)
[This article was updated in 2020.]