Material / technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 72x60 cm.
According to the labels on the back of the painting, the woman depicted here is Aleksandra Voyeykova (1795–1829), the wife of the Russian poet, translator, critic, publisher and journalist Aleksandr Voyeykov (1779–1839). Her father was the brother-in-law of the historian Nikolay Karamzin, and her mother’s stepbrother was the celebrated Russian poet Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky, who contributed considerably to the education of his niece in his youth. She married Aleksandr Voyeykov in 1814, and lived in Tartu for several years, where her husband taught at the university. Zhukovsky immortalised his niece in the famous ballad ‘Svetlana’ on the occasion of their marriage. The Voyeykov family moved to St Petersburg in 1820. Their marriage was not a happy one, but the flat they shared with Zhukovsky soon became a centre for the city’s cultural life. The wise, educated, charming, sensitive and talented Aleksandra became the hostess of a literary salon that was favoured by intellectuals. She became a muse to many Russian poets, and painters who frequented the salon also admired her. Voyeykova died in Pisa (she had gone to Italy for medical treatment), and is buried in the Greek cemetery at Livorno. One of her daughters, Maria, later married a Swedish aristocrat and cavalry general in the Russian army called Alexander von Brevern de la Gardie. Her portrait remained in the family collection until 1922. JÓZEF OLESZKIEWICZ (1777–1830) painted Aleksandra Voyeykova when she had only just opened her literary salon. She is depicted leaning gracefully on a table, wearing an elegant and dark but modest dress, and the serious expression on her rather sad face shows no sign of levity. Her distant look seems to reflect her thoughts, deep in the world of poetry and the imagination.
Reference: "RES PUBLICA" The art collection of the law firm Ellex Valiunas. Compiler R. Jononienė. Vilnius, 2018, P. 176.
Published: Agra-Art dom aukcyjny. Aukcja 17 marca 2013 (catalogue). – Varšuva: Galeria Agry-Art, 2013, Kat. Nr. 55; "RES PUBLICA" The art collection of the law firm Ellex Valiunas. Compiler R. Jononienė. Vilnius, 2018, P. 177, Cat. No. 58, P. 222.
Photograph: note on a tag glued to the other side of the painting: J. F. Oleszkiewicz 1821 / 1777-1830 / Frau von Worykoff, f. Trokassoff / Hartiechort Brevern de la Gardie / Inkopt 1922 a Bjorks auksiau, Sthlm.