Nikitin, Ivan Nikitich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nikitin, Ivan Nikitich


Born circa 1690 in Moscow; died 1742. Russian portrait painter. One of the founders of Russian secular painting.

Nikitin studied under J.-G. Tannauer (?) in St. Petersburg. He was sent by Peter I to Italy, where he studied in Venice and Florence from 1716 to 1719. Nikitin’s early portraits reveal a departure from the conventional devices of the parsuna (Russian designation of 17th-century secular portraiture) and an attempt to accurately convey the characteristic features of the sitter (Portrait of Anna Petrovna, Heir to the Throne and Portrait of Tsarevna Natal’ia Alekseevna, both before 1716, Tret’iakov Gallery).

During his mature period, the 1720’s, Nikitin succeeded in clearly bringing out the character of his sitter and faithfully rendering the texture and color of objects. His sensitive palette consisted primarily of golden brown tones. Examples of the artist’s mature works in the Russian Museum in Leningrad are the Portrait of Peter I (circular), Peter I on His Deathbed (1725), and Portrait of S. G. Stroganov (1726).

In 1732, Nikitin was arrested for libel against Feofan Prokopovich; he was exiled to Tobol’sk in 1737. Nikitin died en route from exile to Moscow.


Savinov, A. N. “I. N. Nikitin.” In Russkoe iskusstvo: Ocherki o zhizni itvorchestve khudozhnikov. Moscow, 1952.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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