Belskii Family of Painters
Bel’skii Family of Painters
Russian 18th century painters from the family of an Armory gunsmith, Ivan Lazarevich Bel’skii.
Bel’skii’s sons Ivan Ivanovich, who was born on Jan. 6 (17), 1719, and died on Jan. 13 (24), 1799, in St. Petersburg, and Aleksei Ivanovich, who was born in 1730 and died in St. Petersburg on May 21 (June 1), 1796, were enrolled at the Construction Office from the middle of the 1740’s, where they studied with G. Bon, I. Ia. Vishniakov, and others. Ivan Ivanovich Bel’skii painted icons for the cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery and also managed the mosaic workshop founded by M. V. Lomonosov; Aleksei Ivanovich Bel’skii painted icons for the Andreev Cathedral in Kiev. The Bel’skii family painted icons for court churches and also painted theater scenery, panels, and decorated ceilings for the imperial palaces. Aleksei Ivanovich Bel’skii shared with G. Valeriani the fame of being the best master of decorative painting. The works of Ivan Ivanovich (Bishop During the Liturgy Service, 1770; Head of the Apostle Peter , 1783—both in the Tret’iakov Gallery) and of Aleksei Ivanovich (Dessus-de-porte With Parrot, 1754, Russian Museum in Leningrad; Architectural Landscape, 1789, Tret’iakov Gallery) are painted in a broad manner and often include landscape and genre motifs. The son of Ivan Ivanovich Bel’skii, Mikhail Ivanovich Bel’skii, who was born in 1753 and died in St. Petersburg on May 29 (June 9), 1794, studied in the St. Petersburg Academy of Art (1764–73) with A. P. Losenkoand D. G. Levitskii; he later studied in England and with J. B. Greuze in Paris. His well-known works are the portraits of a teacher and his pupils (1773, Abramtsevo Museum-Estate) and of composer D. S. Bortnianskii (1788, Tret’iakov Gallery).