Sometimes referred also as Barbara Dmitrievna Mergassov Rimsky-Korsakova, the “Madame Barbe de Rimsky Korsakov” is a portrait of Russian aristocrat woman. It was painted in 1864 by the German painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
At some places, it is suggested that the woman is the same person who married to the famous Russian music composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov due to the same endings of the name and the same time-period of their births. But, there is no full evidence about it as some important sources suggests Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova to be the composer’s wife.
Other speculations are that she also appeared in Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina. But, the identity of the portrayed woman isn’t firmly definite.
The portrait resembles some modest elements of chiaroscuro painting technique which uses only one light to explore the objects in the painting. Moreover, the German painter himself was considered to be a Neo-rococo artist.
The most appraisal he got from the critics was for his keen attention to the clothing, jewelries and ornaments. He had mastered the art of describing these shining things on canvas with ample knowledge and understanding shadow and colors. He succeeded to give the person an atmosphere more royal and glorified presence.
As he mostly worked on portraits of royal and aristocratic families of Russia, Spain, Belgium, Mexico and Germany, his knowledge and experience also sparkles in the current painting as he was more than 60 years old at the time this painting was executed.
Among Franz Winterhalter’s oeuvre “Madame Barbe de Rimsky Korsakov” ranks among the most famous art-works.