One of the great keyboard virtuosi, Anton Rubinstein (1830–1894) was also a conductor and composer. In this unfinished oil sketch titled in black paint ‘A Rubber of Whist at the Studio’, Rubinstein is depicted, head and shoulders, in a brown jacket with a dark collar turned slightly to the right, looking down. The artist was the son of the eminent pianist Ignaz Moscheles, who taught at the Royal Academy of Music for some years prior to becoming director in 1856 of the Leipzig Conservatoire in succession to Mendelssohn, after whom Felix Moscheles was named. Ignaz Moscheles, who was the dedicatee of Rubinstein’s Piano Concerto No 3, and who had known Beethoven intimately, wrote that Rubinstein’s features and short, irrepressible hair reminded him of Beethoven. In 1862 Rubinstein founded and became the director of the St Petersburg Conservatoire, the first such school in Russia. His brother Nikolai founded the Moscow Conservatoire.
Where to see this painting?
Royal Academy of Music
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