As a master from St. Petersburg became a court artist of the English Queen and painted the best portrait of her
The ceremonial portrait of Elizabeth II, painted by Sergei Pavlenko, is considered the best even by the Queen herself. The same portrait is reproduced on commemorative collector’s stamps of the British Royal mail. In addition, the artist has painted several more portraits of members of the Royal family of great Britain, but he strongly asks not to call himself a court artist, considering that this is not the case. But at the same time, Sergey Pavlenko is rightfully proud of his work.From Russia to the UK
Sergey Pavlenko graduated from the famous Ilya Repin Academy of arts in Leningrad. But when he was on the threshold of graduation, he asked the Vice-rector what to do if the artists are not needed in their country. The answer was obvious: he had known about it at the time of admission.
But the young artist did not immediately decide to move to another country. It would take several more years before he realized the humiliating situation in which, according to Sergei Pavlenko, only students and members of the Union of artists of the USSR could buy paints and canvases. He also graduated from the Institute, but the Union of artists has not yet accepted him because of his youth and lack of merit.
It was then that he began to think about emigration. He wanted to paint and buy canvases and paints without having to show any documents or try to earn bonuses for joining the organization. In 1989, Sergei Pavlenko flew to London with 200 pounds in his pocket. Fortunately, in England, he had an acquaintance, an English artist, who lived in the village, where he first settled.
He never lived at someone else’s expense; thanks to a friend, he received small commissions for portraits, after which he briefly worked as a teacher at the school of art in Glasgow. And only then was able to move to London and take up painting.
Sergey Pavlenko does not hide: he has always been helped by the lack of illusions about creative freedom, as it is understood by many. He never considered it shameful to work under the order and today considers it normal. Sergey Pavlenko gives an example of works in famous galleries, Recalling Michelangelo and Raphael, who painted their paintings on request. At the same time, no one accuses them of unprofessionalism and lack of talent.
The concept of “art for the soul” exists only if you can, thanks to your creations, provide for yourself and your family. The artist also insists that the ability to perform high-quality commissioned work is, in fact, the highest manifestation of professionalism.
In 2000, Sergei Pavlenko painted a portrait of Elizabeth II commissioned by the Draper’s Guild , an organization that has been uniting wool and textile manufacturers and merchants for centuries. However, the artist received such an important order for a reason, and turned out to be the winner in the competition among 200 colleagues.
The artist himself suggests that during the competition, the organizers looked at his work, perhaps drew attention to his traditionally classical style and quality of painting. He was a professional in his field, but not so famous as to demand an exorbitant amount for his work.
At the same time, the Queen herself did not participate in the selection of an artist to paint the portrait, and all negotiations were conducted with customers who wanted a portrait of the Queen in their headquarters, whose art collection has been collected for several centuries.
When meeting with representatives of the Draper’s Guild, Sergei Pavlenko had to explain in words how he imagined the portrait of the Queen. In addition, the artist himself asked to show him the place where his work will hang, in order to take into account not only the external similarity, but also to properly consider the combination with the interior of the room. It was important for him to take into account the smallest details and do everything to make the portrait look in its place organically. For their part, the customers asked to place the symbols of the Guild on the portrait.
The artist had only a few hour-long sessions with the Queen. He admits that the Queen did not try to distract him with conversation, she stood patiently throughout the session and refused even to sit down on a chair to rest. Elizabeth II was very punctual, polite and always added an extra 10 minutes to the agreed session time, explaining that she was allegedly late, although she always appeared at the minute. The artist was most impressed by the maximum courtesy and the absence of even a hint of pathos and arrogance.
Elizabeth II clearly liked the portrait, she even agreed to take part in its opening, and then admitted that it is the most favorite of all her images.
Later, the ceremonial portrait was reproduced on commemorative collector’s stamps, and Sergei Pavlenko began to receive orders to paint other portraits of members of the Royal family. In addition to representatives of the British monarchy, the artist has several portraits of aristocrats from other countries.
Nowadays, it is more and more difficult for modern artists to find free niches for the development of their individualism and the manifestation of the author’s handwriting. But there is a master in Russia named Andrey Remnev, who created his unique corporate style, which is based on the ancient technique of Russian iconography and modern constructivism.