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Title Sense and Sensibility: The Theme of Friendship in the Russian Portrait Painting of the Enlightenment Era
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About author Chebakova, Polina Aleksandrovna — M. A., postgraduate student. Saint-Petersburg State University, Universitetskaia nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. Skvortcova, Ekaterina Aleksandrovna — Ph. D., associate professor. Saint-Petersburg State University, Universitetskaia nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
In the section Russian Art in the 18th–19th Centuries DOI10.18688/aa200-2-21
Year 2020 Volume 10 Pages 230242
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.041.5 Index BBK 85.143

In the policed society of the 18th century, the phenomenon of friendship, as M. W. Reddy asserts, evolved into a new form of sociability which offered an emotional refuge from the code of honor and became central for the culture of the Enlightenment. Although there was no necessary contradiction between reason and emotion, sense and sensibility were understood as opposite poles and the concept of friendship was oscillating between them. The present paper reveals the peculiar features of perception of friendship in the second halfof the 18th century in Russia when its importance for culture rapidly increased on the material of double portrait painting. The specifics of the Russian Enlightenment defined by V. Zhivov as “primarily mythological performanceof the state power” were expressed in the idea of the state. This was reflected in male double portraitpainting developing the traditions of parallel depiction and the iconography of gestures which first emerged in the Russian art of the first half of the 18th century in allegorical compositions celebrating peace treaties. In contrast, the European understanding of male friendship visualized in portrait painting was broader, embracing emotional aspects as well (creative friendship, admiration of art). While male friendship in Russia was understoodas a political union or collaboration, the notion of sensibility, i.e. friendship as union of hearts, was usuallyassociated with the female portrait. Models for female friends portraits were always unmarried young ladies: the family life was perceived as dominated exclusively by the responsibilities of a caring wife and mother. Overall, both the female and male friends portrait painting in Russian art, in contrast with European, appears to be inseparable from the family portrait painting in its reduced variant, i.e. portraits of brothers or sisters. The few exceptions are connected with the corporate friendship of young people inside closed educational institutions established by the will of Catherine II in order to breed “an ideal man and a perfect citizen”.

Reference Chebakova, Polina A.; Skvortcova, Ekaterina A. Sense and Sensibility: The Theme of Friendship in the Russian Portrait Painting of the Enlightenment Era. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 10. Ed: A. V. Zakharova, S. V. Maltseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova. — Lomonosov Moscow State University / St. Petersburg: NP-Print, 2020, pp. 230–242. ISSN 2312-2129.
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