Karl Brullov

Karl Brullov (1799–1852)
Born: 1799, St Petersburg
Died: 1852, Manziana (near Rome)

Painter, draughtsman, theatrical designer, teacher. Younger brother of Alexander Brullov, half-brother of Fyodor Brullov, brother-in-law of Pyotr Fyodorovich Sokolov and Georg Wilhelm Timm. Great-grandson of Hans Georg Brüllo, an ornamental sculptor descended from a family of French Huguenots (Brulleau) who emigrated to Lüneburg in Lower Saxony (1685) and moved to St Petersburg to work at the Imperial Porcelain Factory (1773). Born on Vasilyevsky Island in St Petersburg (1799) to Paul Brüllo (academician of ornamental sculpture) and his second wife Maria-Elisabeth Schroeder (daughter of a court gardener). Studied under Andrei Ivanov, Alexei Yegorov and Vasily Shebuyev at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1809–21), winning minor silver medals (1813, 1817), minor gold medals (1818, 1819), a major gold medal (1821) and a first-class certificate (1821). Turned down the offer of an Academy fellowship and worked with his brother Alexander in a studio next to the site of St Isaac’s Cathedral (1821). Granted permission to change his surname to Brullov (1822). Travelled with Alexander to Italy as a fellow of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1822). Visited Riga, Memel, Königsberg, Berlin and Dresden (1822) and spent four months in Munich (1823–23), where he painted portraits of Bavarian ministers and attended evening classes at the Königliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste. Toured Venice, Padua, Verona, Mantua and Bologna and arrived in Rome (1823). Painted a copy of Raphael’s School of Athens in the Vatican (1823), biblical and mythological studies (1824) and scenes from modern Italian life (1825–26). Visited Pompeii (1827) and started work on The Last Day of Pompeii (1827–33), which included a self-portrait and an image of his lover, Countess Yulia Samoilova, whom he met in Rome (1827). Awarded the Order of St Stanislaus (1827). Painted icons for the Russian Consulate Chapel in Rome (1828) and oil and watercolour portraits (1829–32). Exhibited The Last Day of Pompeii to great acclaim at his studio on Via San Claudio in Rome (1833), Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan (1833), Paris Salon (1834, gold medal), George Dawe’s former studio at the Hermitage (1834) and the Imperial Academy of Arts (1834). Awarded the Order of St Anne and elected an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1834). Lived in Milan and worked at Countess Yulia Samoilova’s villa in Como (1834). Accompanied Count Vladimir Orlov-Davydov on an expedition to Greece and Turkey (1835), sketching genre scenes in Constantinople and Smyrna. Sailed from Constantinople to Odessa and travelled to Moscow, where he lived at the apartment of Antony Pogorelsky (1835). Drew works on the theme of the Patriotic War of 1812 and met Alexander Pushkin (1836). Moved to St Petersburg, where he lived at 6 Nevsky Prospekt and met Nikolai Gogol (1836). Awarded the title of junior professor and appointed head of the history class at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1836). Moved to an apartment with a studio at the Imperial Academy of Arts, overlooking the River Neva (1836), where he lived until his final departure from Russia (1849). Painted a portrait of Vasily Zhukovsky to secure the freedom of serf artist Taras Shevchenko and designed the sets and costumes for Act IV of Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila (1837). Invited by Tsar Nicholas I to paint portraits of his wife and daughters at Peterhof (1837). Painted a large altarpiece for the Lutheran Church of St Peter and St Paul on Nevsky Prospekt (1838), which was built by his brother Alexander (1833–37). Married Emilija Timm, the 18-year-old daughter of the mayor of Riga, but divorced her one month later after he found her in bed with her father (1839). Painted icons for the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg (1839) and the Trinity Cathedral of the St Sergius Hermitage of the Trinity in Strelna (1840). Decorated the Pulkovo Observatory (1839–40), which was built by his brother Alexander (1834–39). Painted frescoes for the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg (1843–48). Damaged his lungs working in the damp cupola of St Isaac’s Cathedral (1847) and advised by doctors to rest in Madeira (1848). Travelled via Poland, Prussia, Belgium, Great Britain and Portugal, accompanied by his students Mikhail Zheleznov and Nikolai Lukashevich (1849). Visited Spain and settled in Rome (1850), where he painted portraits (1851–52). Died in the village of Manziana and buried at the Cimitero degli Inglesi in Rome (1852).

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