(Russian: July 24 O.S. 1757 - April 6 O.S. 1825) was a Ukrainian-born painter who dominated Russian portraiture at the turn of the 19th century.
ladimir Borovikovsky was born dymyr Borovyk in Myrhorod (now Ukraine) on July 24, 1757. His father, Luka Borovyk was a Ukrainian Cossack and an amateur icon painter. According to the family tradition, all four of Borovyk's sons served in Myrhorod regiment, but Volodymyr retired early at the rank of poruchik and devoted his life to art mostly icon painting for local churches.
Borovikovsky may have lived the remainder his life as an amateur painter in a provincial town if not for an unexpected event. His friend Vasyl Kapnist was preparing an accommodation for Empress Catherine II in Kremenchuk during her travel to newly conquered Crimea. Kapnist asked Borovikovsky to paint two allegoric paintings (Peter I of Russia and Catherine II as peasants sowing seeds and Catherine II as a Minerva) for her rooms. The paintings so pleased the Empress that she requested that the painter move to Saint Petersburg.
Portrait of Maria Lopukhina, 1797After September 1788 Borovikovsky lived in Saint Petersburg where he changed his surname from the Cossack "Borovyk" to the more aristocratic-sounding "Borovikovsky". For his first ten years in Saint Petersburg, he lived in the house of the poet, architect, musician and art theorist, Prince Nikolay Lvov, whose ideas strongly influenced Borovikovsky's art. At 30-years-old, he was too old to attend Imperial Academy of Arts, so he took private lessons from Dmitry Levitzky and later from Austrian painter Johann Baptist Lampi.