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Feodor Bruni biography

Feodor was born in Milan, Italy into the family of Antonio Bruni(1767-1875). Antonio was a painter as well as a sculptor. Antonio moved his family to Russia in 1807 where he stayed till his death.


In St Petersburg Antonio was rechristened in Russian as Anton Osipovich Bruni. His son Fidelio was renamed Feodor Antonivich, who pursued a career in Russia. The little Feodor was admitted into the Academy of Arts in 1809. After studying under professors A.E. Yegorov and V.K.Shebuyev he graduated in 1818.

Princess Zinaida Volkonskaya was a patron of Arts and a writer. On Her invitation Feodor travelled to Italy in 1820. The work DEATH OF CAMILLA, SISTER OF HORATIO was the first milestone in his career. Traces of romanticism in the tradition of classicism dominated his works. His works
PORTRAIT OF PRINCESS ZINAIDA VOLKONSKAYA IN A COSTUME OF TANKRED (1820-22), BACCHANTE GIVING WINE TO CUPID(1828) were typical examples of his romanticism. Instead of staying put in the track of romanticism Feodor remained on classicism. His skills as an artist won wide acclaim and he was commissioned by the Academy for copying frescoes by Raphael in the Vatican.
THE BRAZEN DRAGON was his own big work.

He came back to St Petersburg in 1836 where he was appointed professor at the Academy along with Karl Brulloff. His work ALEXANDER PUSHKIN IN THE COFFIN in 1837 was converted into lithographs and won wide acclaim. He continued his work with THE BRAZEN DRAGON in Italy in 1838. This work was brought to St Petersburg in 1841.

The very expressive composition with multiple figures on a large canvas exposed the skill of the master. This large painting was bought for the Hermitage. The withering academism determined the death of Feodor’s talent. Down the road he received commission for doing the frescoes in the Isaac Cathedral in St Petersburg. By 1845 he finished all his commissioned cardboards, mostly by himself and oversaw the work on the other frescoes.

He was made the Rector of the Academy and gave up painting. Due to his academic standards his students and professors did not tow his line. He left the Academy in 1871 and thereafter lived the life of a recluse.

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