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 Feodor  Bruni


Born:   June 10, 1799
Deceased:   September 11, 1875

An academical artist, author of famous religious and historical paintings

      

Feodor Bruni  is a Russian artist famous for academical painting on historical and religious subjects.
Feodor Bruni was born into the family of the Swiss Italian, artist and restorer Antonio Bruni in Milan on June 10, 1799. In 1807 the family moved from Italy to Russia. Antonio Bruni was engaged as a restorer and plafond painter during the reign of Paul I. In 1809 the boy interested in painting from early childhood was admitted to Educational School under the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Afterwards he studied in a historical painting class and graduated from the Arts Academy  in 1818.
In the spring of 1820 the aspiring artist went to Italy at the invitation of Princess Volkonskaya. He worked passoionately and earnestly there and gained popularity soon. His first big success was the painting The Death of Camilla, Horace's Sister (1824). In this paragon classicism certain features of Romanticism were found. Shades of Romanticism were present in other works by Feodor Bruni  as well. Professional achievements of the young artist were highly estimated, and he got the most crucial order for copying two of Raphael's frescoes in Vatican for the St. Petersburg Arts Academy. Having his self-confidence encouraged, Feodor Bruni intended to create his own great work and selected the story of the Copper Serpent from the Old Testament for it.
However in 1836 he had to interrupt the  work begun and return to St. Petersburg, where it and Karl Bryullov were appointed professors of the Arts Academy. Feodor Bruni undertook teaching with enthusiasm, and the students were highly committed in responce.
At the beginning of 1837 he painted Alexander Pushkin's Portrait in the Deathbed, which was multiplied with lithograph and gained immense fame. Nevertheless the need to continue his painting urged him to return to Italy in 1838 and spend there two and a half  years more.
The finished Copper Serpent was delivered to St. Petersburg in 1841 and was a great success, comparable only to the triumph of The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov.
The Copper Serpent was purchased for the Hermitage at 70 000 rubles (now it is in the State Russian Museum) and its author received an honourable order for painting frescoes in the St. Isaac's Cathedral.
By 1845 the artist made canvass paintings for all the 25 frescoes required and then painted some of them on the walls of the cathedral himself, and personally directed copying of the others.
Gradually Feodor Bruni reached a high position: from 1855 he was the rector of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. The renowned artist spent a lot of time at various honourable commissions but was less and less engaged in painting. In the last decade of his life he almost didn't touch the paintbrush.
Feodor Bruni died in St. Petersburg on August 30 (on September 11), 1875.
 

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Tags: Feodor Bruni Russian Artists    








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