Volodymyr Lukich Borovikovsky (originally kozak Volodymyr Borovyk) was born in Myrhorod, Ukraine in 1757. His father was a Ukrainian kozak and an amateur icon painter. Volodymyr Borovikovsky served in Myrhorod regiment and after retirement devoted his life to art, painting mostly icons for local churches. Borovikovsky may have lived the remainder his life as an amateur painter in a provincial town if not for an unexpected event. His friend Vasyl Kapnist was preparing an accommodation for Empress Catherine II in Kremenchuk during her travel to newly conquered Crimea. Kapnist asked Borovikovsky to paint two allegoric paintings (Peter I of Russia and Catherine II as peasants sowing seeds and Catherine II as a Minerva) for her rooms. The paintings so pleased the Empress that she requested that the painter move to Saint Petersburg. The artist moved to St. Petersburg in 1788 where he changed his name to Borovikovsky. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts at the age of 30 and took private lessons from Dmitry Levitzky and later studied with Austrian painter Johann Baptist Lampi. In 1795 the artist received a title of academician. He became a popular portrait painter and created about 500 portraits during his lifetime, 400 of which survived to the 21st century. He had his own studio, and often relied on assistants to paint the less important parts of portraits. His sitters included members of the imperial family and other nobility of the time. Most of his portraits are intimate in style. The artist died in 1825.