A portrait of Fidanza is mentioned amongst the paintings shown by Kiprenskii at the "Porta del Popolo" in Rome in 1832. The identity of the sitter is not totally established as Kiprenskii knew the two brothers, Gregorio and Guiseppe Fidanza, both landscape painters. Guiseppe Fidanza was the first one to meet Kiprenskii when he went to St Petersburg in 1811. In June of the same year, the Italian artist gave one of his paintings, The Vesuvius Erupting, to the Arts Academy and two prints. He was also known to N.I. Turgenev who recalls him in his diary for the year 1811: "Today we went with our consul Jossip Jossipovich to the painter Fidanza". Fidanza is also mentioned in the correspondence between Kiprenskii and his close friend, S.I. Galberg in a letter dated 26 June 1824.
Considered as one of the main Russian portraitists of the 19th Century, Orest Kiprenskii wsa sent at the age of six to the school run by the Academy of Arts and nine years later he entered the class of historical painting. He was awarded his first gold medal in 1805.
Kiprenskii was one of the first Romantic artists to catch the tenor of the age and to poeticise the value and beauty of man's spiritual wealth in his portraits.
Moving in 1809 to Moscow he quickly became acquainted with the different intellectual circles and painted the main characters. His portrait of Davidov, hero of the 1812 war, is widely regarded as his finest work of this period.
In 1816, having received the title of Adviser to the Academy of Arts, he was given state support to travel to Italy, returning to St Petersburg in 1823. His portrait of the poet Aleksandr Pushkin, painted in 1829 and now in the Tret'iakov Gallery, is considered to be one of his greatest portraits.
Having returned to Italy at the end of the twenties, Orest Kiprenskii died in Rome in 1836 at the age of fifty-four.
We are most grateful to Evgenia Nikolaevna Petrova, Deputy Director of the Russian Museum in St Petersburg for her assistance in preparing the above catalogue entry.