Museum complex


Artist: Ludwig Guttenbrunn, around 1750–1819
Russian Empire, Moscow
On the back of the board is written: L. Guttenbrunn рinxit. 1801; and later inscription: Peter M. Gusyatnikov
Wooden board, oil paints
36,5 х 24,0 cm
Receipt: purchased from V.L.Snegirev, Moscow, 1921
The upper tier of the portrait gallery

The portrait depicts a young man in a fashionable noble dress, leaning on a harp, in front of him is a music stand with scales. According to memoirs amateur music among nobles was widespread in Moscow and St.Petersburg in the beginning of the XIX Century. The harp is an aristocratic instrument for home concerts, it was well known because of professional touring harpists, and as such it was more often a men’s instrument. At the same time, playing harp, since Catherine's time, becomes a part of the curriculum for those studying in the Institute for noble maidens (Smolny). Russian music had harp repertoire of its own; continuing traditions of classicism with the strengthening of the national element, in particular, the arrangement of folk melodies.
Presumably it is portrayed Nicholas Gusyatnikov (1766 or 1779 – after 1842), who was called by S.P.Zhikharev "the Greatest Angloman"; undoubtedly he had been well received in the best musical salons of Moscow. He is depicted, apparently, just having finished playing on decorated with carvings and gilding instrument. All his appearance reveals loose leisurely negligence of a real Dandy, which makes him free from the traditions of behavior of merchant class. Exactly in 1801, when this portrait was commissioned, he as a "distinguished citizen", who reached 30 years of age, whose grandfather and father irreproachably retained this title, had the right to "apply" for Nobility. However, he received it not earlier than in 1812.