The composition of Ivanov’s painting “Portrait of Vittoria Caldoni”

The composition of Ivanov’s painting “Portrait of Vittoria Caldoni”

Vittoria Caldoni – the daughter of a poor winemaker from Albano, had a rare beauty. She became a favorite model for many famous painters and sculptors who lived in the first decades of the XIX century in Italy. Her beauty was inspired by NV Gogol, immortalizing her in her novel “Rome” under the name Annunziata. “The Girl from Albano” appears in the works on the aesthetics of N. G. Chernyshevsky, as proof that reality surpasses its beauty with art.

But Vittoria did not always and not all agreed to pose, although the most famous artists and sculptors of Europe dreamed of drawing and sculpting a beauty. She also refused to pose nude, which explains the fact that the famous Karl Bryullov, who was positively posed by noble ladies, drew this unassailable goddess only once. All the female images in his painting The last day of Pompeii are beautiful, and among them there is a very young girl in a blue veil – it was Vittoria who posed for her.

It was about her that Gogol wrote about Briullov’s picture: “Her eyes, bright as stars, her breathing with her bare and strong breasts promise a luxury of bliss, and this beautiful, this crown of creation, the ideal of the earth, must perish in common ruin along with the last despicable a creature that was unworthy and crawling at her feet. Tears, fright, sobbing – everything in her is beautiful “

Ivanov met with the beautiful woman in the first years of her stay

in Italy. Together with the artist Lapchenko, he stopped at Albano, in the house of Caldoni. Vittoria agreed to pose for two young Russian painters. Ivanov was going to present it in the form of “Our Lady of Mercy,” although he confessed that he could not transfer the image of her on canvas. Ivanov’s friend Grigory Lapchenko did not resist the charms of the beauty and married her. In the portrait of Vittoria Caldoni, Ivanov strives to convey the individual features of her appearance: a regular face oval, a long neck, a straight nose, broad arches of eyebrows and huge dark eyes. Not indifferent to the beauty, Ivanov wrote this small portrait, in his own words, “not cold-bloodedly”, timid before this perfect beauty. The portrait is sustained in noble muted tones. The swarthy color of the skin harmonizes with the lilac ribbon in the hair and lilac background. Lilac same shine cast and black hair of this amazingly beautiful woman.


The composition of Ivanov’s painting “Portrait of Vittoria Caldoni”