Portrait of Princess Belozersky 1798

Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Portrait of Princess Belozersky, 1798; Gift of Rita M. Cushman in memory of George A. Rentschler

Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun was widely known for flattering her sitters, a quality visible in this portrait of Princess Belozersky.

Princess Anne Grigorieva Belosselsky Belozersky was the younger of two daughters of Gregory Vassilievitch Kozitsky, secretary of state to Catherine II. At the time this portrait was executed, during Vigée-LeBrun’s St. Petersburg sojourn, the princess was 26 years old.

Vigée-LeBrun portrays the Russian princess as beautiful and approachable. She wears a faint smile on her moist lips, her curly hair is attractively tousled, and her two-tone shawl and matching fringed headwrap add warmth to her coloring and the portrait as a whole.

The artist has downplayed the luxury of her sitter’s life. The princess wears a simple, long-sleeved, high-waisted dress of the color and type favored by Vigée-LeBrun for both her own wardrobe and the costumes in which she dressed her female subjects. The princess wears little jewelry, only a pair of gold and amber earrings and a necklace that is faintly visible beneath the diaphanous white scarf covering her throat.