Vigée Le Brun's Home Page | Index to Art Pages | Vigée Le Brun's Gallery

ART PAGE 9
Portrait of the Young Countess Schouvalof
(Elizabeth Vladmirovna) - 1797

The sitter may actually be Princess Natalia Ivanovna Kourakin, née Countess Golovine. See the story below.
oil on canvas
The Val A. Browning Collection of
European Masterworks Permanent Collection of the
Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Acquired by UMFA in 1994
Painted while living in St. Petersburg, Russia.
View a large image of this painting.

UMFA Newsletter - "A Mystery Solved" .

Angela Demutskiy - 9 April 2007 - Current Research
The sitter is most likely Princess Natalia Ivanova Kourakine
I was going through some pictures I had taken a few years ago from the Utah Museum of this painting. I had saved some detailed shots I took of the music book the sitter is holding. Last night I was able to research the words:
Se non ti moro allato by Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782)
Se non ti moro allato,
idolo del cor mio,
col tuo bel nome amato
tra' labbri io morirĂ².

Addio mia vita, addio,
non pianger il mio fato,
misero non son io,
sei fida ed io losco,

misero non son io,
sei fida ed io losco,
dunque mon pianger il mio fato,
addio, mia vita, addio.

The highlighted part (idolo del cor mio, col tuo bel nome amato) is what can be easily made out from the detail I took. Metastasio wrote the libretto of Adriano in Siria originally for Antonio Caldara. Which has been set to music by numerous composers since 1732. Unless VLB faithfully copied the music, identifying the composer will be impossible.

I thought that the music book could be a significant clue to her identity. I went through Russian listings, reread Nikolenko's article and came across the notation of Princess Natalia Ivanova Kourakine being a talented musician and singer. Not only that but the Princess was a composer as well. Music of Russian Princesses: From the Court of Catherine the Great

Update 9 Jul 07:
Here is an update on the portrait of Princess Kourakine. The museum is moving up their date to display her to August 13th, and were happy with the synopsis I wrote. Luke is going to mail me their newsletter about the painting. As far as researching, I think I know how she was confused for Countess Shouvaloff. It looks as if whoever researched the provenance for Newhouse relied on Blum's book, to find a connection to the seller's Estate. They in turn assumed that the name above "the young Countess Shouvaloff" was that of the sitter, and not the owner Countess Elizabeth Vladimirovna Shuvalova, who at the time was in possession of the portrait of "Count Paul Andreevich Shouvalov". (Paul Shouvalov was the older brother of Countess Dietrichstein nee Shouvalov.)

Princess Eudocia Ivanovna Galitzine as Flora - 1799
oil on canvas, 53-1/2" x 38-1/2"
The Val A. Browning Collection of
European Masterworks Permanent Collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Acquired by UMFA in 1994. Painted while living in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lived 1780-1850. The sister of Countess Irina Ivanovna Worontzov, whom Vigee Le Brun also painted. View a large image of this painting.

Duchess of Polignac - 1787
oil on canvas, 38-3/4" x 28"
National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
It was the fashion at court for the Queen to have favorites among her ladies. The Duchess was one of Marie Antoinette's favorites. She started poor and rose to the prestigious position of head governess of Marie Antoinette's children. Martine Gabrielle Yolande de Polastron (1745-1793), married in 1767 comte Jules de Polignac who was created duc de Polognac in 1780. The duchesse de Polignac predeceased her husband. her death which occurred in Vienna on 5 Dec 1793, was hastened, according to contemporary sources, by the news of the execution of Queen Marie-Antoinette of whom she had been a friend and favourite. "This well composed painting has directional rhythms running from the hat to the arm to the open manuscript whose pages counter the juxtaposition of the body. A poignant picture for the guillotined royal family. It is located in the sumptuous Baron Rothschild's Waddeson Manor chateau outside London.-FK" . There is a pastel on paper (39.5 x 28 cm) of Yolande Gabrielle Martine, Duchesse De Polignac In the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. This painting may have been done around 1783.


Vigée Le Brun's Home Page | Index to Art Pages | Vigée Le Brun's Gallery