Salvatore Tonci

Born: 1756, Rome
Died: 1844, Moscow

Italian painter, draughtsman, poet, musician, singer. Studied art in Rome and served as a guardsman in Naples. Arrived in St Petersburg in the company of the deposed King Stanislaw II August Poniatowski of Poland (1797). Painted portraits of Paul I, Empress Elizabeth Alexeyevna, Gavrila Derzhavin, Count Fyodor Rostopchin and other members of the Russian nobility. Eloped with the 26-year-old Princess Natalia Gagarina (1778–1832), whose family opposed her marriage to a 48-year-old foreigner, commoner and atheist (1804). Lived in Moscow (1804–12, 1814–44) and Vladimir (1812–14). Founder and inspector of the school of architecture of the Kremlin Department of Construction (1815). Retired with the rank of collegiate counsellor (1842).

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