"All at once I felt a thirst for painting with oil paints. I have never tried to paint with them before: but at that moment I decided to undertake an experience and I painted a self-portrait on the canvas.", - that's how a nobleman Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov began his artistic career. And that was not a rare case. Many of his contemporaries tried themselves in fine arts.
Here is another evidence "An Agreement between Titular Counsellor Pavel Grigorievich Starozhenok and the painter Konon Fyodorovich Yushkevich-Stakhovsky. Portrait of him I should paint exactly alike his, Pavel Starozhenok's, lively face, in the uniform, with a sword, with hands. This agreement I signed with my hand: Nobleman Konon Yushkevich-Stakhovsky, painter".