Zichy, Mikhail

Biography

Mikhail Alexandrovich Zichy – a representative of the noble family, living in Hungary, most of his life spent in Russia. His early life he lived in Budapest, graduated from the local university and then got carried away with painting and took private lessons. Further on Zichy continued his education in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Zichy’s paintings were exhibited in Vienna and soon he became known abroad as well. In 1848, he received an invitation from the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna be an art and painting teacher to her daughter Catherine, and went to St. Petersburg.

However, the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising of 1848-49 negatively affected Zichy’s position, the painting lessons were discontinued and for several years Mikhail Alexandrovich worked as a retouch artist and earned his living with genre sketches.

A great success for Zichy was meeting Théophile Gautier in St. Petersburg in 1858, the latter highly appreciated the work of Mikhail Alexandrovich, and in his book on traveling to Russia dedicated attention to Zichy, which greatly improved his position - a year later Zichy received the position of a court painter.

For thirty years Zichy reflected in his albums all the events at court. He is the author of many caricatures and portraits, including Nicholas I and Alexander II. Alexander III collected works of Zichy - they decorated the walls in the Gatchina Palace. Known is the deck of playing cards he created, which depicted hunting scenes and the Emperor himself.

In the New Hermitage, he had his own workshop, there was no getting rid of the private orders, exhibitions were held for him, and even the Order was granted.

Interestingly, after reading the poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin", Zichy was so delighted with it that he created, for free, 35 illustrations for the book, traveling through Georgia.

Zichy is the author of many famous drawings, including the erotic series.

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Zichy died in St. Petersburg in 1906.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection