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Karl Bryulov

(1799—1852)


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(b St Petersburg, 12 [23] Dec. 1799; d Marciano, nr. Rome, 12 [24] June 1852).

Russian painter. He spent much of his life in Italy (1822–34 and 1849–52), where he painted his chief work, The Last Day of Pompeii (1830–3, Russian Mus., St Petersburg), inspired by a performance of the opera of that name by Giovanni Pacini. An enormous (6 m (20 ft) wide) melodramatic composition, it was exhibited to great acclaim at the Paris Salon and elsewhere, bringing him European fame (he was the first Russian artist to win such a reputation) and inspiring Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Last Days of Pompeii (1834). Bryulov had difficulty living up to his masterpiece and the rest of his career was an anticlimax, although he produced some excellent portraits.

Subjects: Art.


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