Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Art & History Feature - Karl Bryullov

Today, I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite Russian artists - Karl Bryullov.

Briullov's Self Portrait
 Karl Bryullov was born in 1799 in St. Petersburg. His father was an engraver and woodcarver Pavel Briullo. Karl studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts, but he had difficulty embracing the classical style of painting that was taught at the Academy and was influential on his artist brother Alexander. Despite that, Karl was able to distinguish himself among his peers.

From the early years of his life, Bryullov was attracted to Italy, a magnetic pull he felt throughout his life, and upon finishing his education at the Academy, he left for Rome, where he worked as mainly as a portraitist. Later on, he began painting massive and epic historical paintings that brought him fame during his lifetime. His most famous historical masterpiece is The Last Day of Pompeii, painted between 1830 and 1833. Once he gained fame as a great painter in Europe, he returned to Russia, eventually attaining a high position at the Imperial Academy of Arts from which he graduated. When his health started deteriorating, he came back to Italy and died there three years later, in June of 1852.

The Last Day of Pompeii
 While in Italy, Bryullov started a relationship with the beautiful Russian aristocrat Countess Yu.Samoilova, who was separated from her husband but not allowed to divorce under the Church laws.  Thus, Bryullov and Samoilova were never able to get married and she remained his mistress for the rest of their life. Samoilova was featured prominently in much of Bryullov's work.

Countess Yulia Samoilova Retiring From Ball

Bryullov's combination of classical themes, romanticism style and dramatic renditions make his work truly unforgettable.

Italian Noon    

Turkish Girl

Svetlana Guessing on Her Future


  1. The Last Day of Pompeii painting is amazing. Having seen Pompeii first hand on my visit to Italy last year, the painting takes on a whole new meaning.

  2. I've never heard of this artist before, thank you for introducing him! My favorite out of all these is Svetlana Guessing on her Future, it's so fantastic at the detail he puts in on her reflection!

  3. ...his vision bragged of confidence. Pure talent.


  4. I want to know what both Svetlana and The Turkish Girl are thinking about...


  5. Tina, I know what you mean (although I didn't get to stop at Pompeii this summer). Becca, I'm happy I introduced you to this amazing writer.
    Elliot and Samantha, I agree, his talent was amazing and his expression of emotion is unbelievable in the faces of the people he painted!


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