Anna E. Kustova
(Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
Russian Subjects in the Paintings by J. A. Atkinson
The report is dedicated to the Russian subjects in the paintings by John Augustus Atkinson. In 1784-1801 he worked in St. Petersburg. Atkinson is the famous engraver and the author of the set of prints “A Picturesque Representation of the Manners, Customs, and Amusements of the Russians in one hundred coloured plates with an accurate explanation of each plate in English and French”. But his canvases are not so popular as his graphic works.
Atkinson was interested by the lifestyle of the Russians. He painted a number of canvases, for example, the portrait of Paul I (1797), the portrait of Count Nikolai P. Sheremetev (1801), the portrait of Count Alexey Z. Hitrovo, “Sliding Hills of the Neva” (1792) and two canvases for Mikhajlovsky Castle in Petersburg — “The Baptism of Prince Vladimir” and “The Battle with Mamai” (both in 1799). Two portraits of Alexander V. Suvorov we can see only on engravings now.
Atkinson worked in Russia during the period of transition from Neoclassicism to Romanticism, which can be clearly seen in his canvases. In his work he combined English and Russian cultural traditions, which is a special feature of his individual manner. His painting gives us a good possibility to look at Russia from the foreign artist`s viewpoint.