The native Italian Andrei Frantsevich Belloli found not only a second motherland in Russia, but also recognition of his artistic talent and widespread fame.
Born in Rome, Belloli studied at the St Luke Academy before moving to St Petersburg in 1859. He soon gained popularity as a master of decorative art, painting churches and palace plafonds (including the murals in the Royal box at the Mariinskii Theatre). Having received recognition from the Court, the artist turned his attention to portraiture. Whilst in Rome (1850-1855) he received a commission from Charles-Lucien Bonaparte, the Prince of Canino, to paint a series of watercolours depicting the members of his family. In Russia, his subjects included such illustrious figures as Countess Apraksina and the Prince and Princess Kochubey.
Belloli was an active and regular participant in the academic exhibitions which took place in the capital. In 1861, he became an Academician of portraiture at the Academy of Arts.
Belloli donated one of his greatest and best-known works After the bath to the Academy Museum. He created number of versions of this work, one of which was taken by Grand Prince Nikolai Konstantinovich for his collection. This work can now be found in the Uzbekistan Museum of Art in Tashkent (fig. 1).