Gabriel-Francois le Doyen

Portrait of Gabriel-Francois le Doyen

Born: Paris - 1726
Died: St. Petersburg - 5 June 1806

A well known French artist who came to St. Petersburg after the French Revolution, Gabriel-Francois le Doyen studied in Paris with Carle van Loo, and then in Italy as winner of the Prix de Rome in 1748. He struggled to win fame and approval in his early career, but his 1758 painting Death of Virginia was well received, and the next year he was admitted to the Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. His large-scale oils on religious and historic themes continued to find success, and he was appointed a professor at the Academie in 1776. He left France in 1791 for St. Petersburg on the invitation of Catherine II. As a court painter, he also became a favorite of the Empress. During the reign of Paul I, he was the director of the Academy of Fine Arts as well as the emperor's favourite painter. His decorations adorned several imperial palaces, including the Winter Palace. Unfortunately, not much else is known about his time in St. Petersburg. A few of his works are still in Russia and can be seen at the State Hermitage Museum.

Works in Russia: Frescoes (Gatchina Palace), Sketch for the Death of Virginie (State Hermitage Museum), Virtues Introducing Russian Youths to Minerva (State Hermitage Museum)