Self-portrait, oil on canvas, currently at the National Museum in Wrocław
Jan Rustem Armenian: Յան Ռուստամ (b. 1762 in Istanbul – d. 1835 near Dūkštas, Lithuania) was a painter of Armenian, Turkish or Greek ethnicity who lived and worked in the territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Primarily a portrait painter, he was commissioned to execute portraits of notable personalities of his epoch. For many years he was a professor at the University of Vilna, the predecessor of Vilnius University.
He was born in Istanbul, and as a young orphan boy was sponsored by Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski who invited him to the Commonwealth around 1774. Czartoryski paid for his studies in Warsaw, where among his tutors were Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine and Marcello Bacciarelli. Between 1788 and 1790 he moved to Germany, where he became a freemason. Two years later he returned to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and lived for some time in Warsaw, later moving to Vilna.
Following the partitions of the Commonwealth, Rustem started working for the Common School of Vilna, which was later remamed the Imperial University of Vilna, as assistant to Franciszek Smuglewicz. After Smuglewicz's death, Rustem took over some of his duties. In 1811 he became a professor of sketching and in 1819 became a professor of painting. Rustem retired in 1826, but continued to give lectures until his death. Among his successful students were Taras Shevchenko, Józef Oleszkiewicz, Kanuty Rusiecki, and Michał Kulesza.
- (Polish) Od starożytności do współczesności - Malarstwo i rzeźba, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN S.A., Warszawa 2006
- (Polish) Malarstwo Polskie w zbiorach za granicą, Stefania Krzysztofowicz-Kozakowska, Wydawnictwo Kluszczyński, 2003, ISBN 83-88080-85-7
- (Polish) Rustem, Jan, webart: malarstwo polskie