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Portrait of Catherine II

Fedor Stepanovich Rokotov • Painting, 1763, 139×155 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1763
Size: 139×155 cm
Artwork in selections: 31 selections

Description of the artwork «Portrait of Catherine II»

This portrait, painted Rokotov in Peterhof in 1763, the year in honor of the coronation of Catherine II, became the standard image of the Empress. Hammered profile, like on coins of great empires and developed over the years exercises and the merciless corset posture was so impressed by newly minted Russian Empress that it commands continue to portray themselves, focusing on rokotovskie original.

Why roars, which, according to the official version of its origin, was only a serf, has got clearance for the image of the Empress, is still not clear to the end. Argunovthe artist at that time much more famous, this work was not allowed. A little-known and relatively young (1763-th year he was less than thirty) .. – was. And usasatsui on the throne as a result of a domestic coup, Catherine did not stop even the fact that earlier .. already written some portraits of deposed her hateful spouse, Peter Fedorovich. Moreover, the Empress will trust Rokotova and portraits of your own young sons – the future Emperor Paul Iand illegitimate offspring from the connection with the Gregory Orlov, Alexei Bobrinsky.

Whatever it was, the coronation portrait came out good and even one of a kind. Roars chose rare for the eighteenth century type – a profile, building a composition around polarisierte seated figure of Catherine. Her wild innate lust for power that cost the lives of Peter III, looks at Rokotova refined and somewhat beautiful.
The Dutchman Georg Groot wrote earlier her with her husband– still youthfully lean, with sharp, forward chin, with tightly compressed thin lips. This porter she looks aloof and tense – hardly such it drew itself in the imagination. Italian Pietro Rotari will write later another portrait– already started to gain weight and to gutter, mentally amorphous (what Catherine was never), look suspiciously like antipathy to her, the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. Of course, both portraits of aliens could not appeal to Catherine. But Rokotov Russian managed to grab its nature, its essence: mind, energy, all-consuming will to power, and she embodied power, which for the Empress above all else.

1763. Year when written and when Rokotov portrait of Catherine ascends to the throne. Realizing the precariousness of their own situation, she cleverly plays on the fatigue court circles from the extremes of the autocracy. She draws in advance the whole program of improvement of the state: liberal indulgences, respect of legality and human dignity, promises the flowering of the enlightenment, recruit supporters, and charms enemies. Apparently, roars fully aware of all the details of this political situation because it depicts the Empress as if she is in dialogue with an invisible interlocutor. Her look royally condescending and at the same time, stress-attentive. She is ready to listen and to hear, to listen and to learn (recall, her correspondence with the philosophes), but inevitably pursed lips and a characteristic strong chin and say the right final decision now and forever Ekaterina reserves.

I must say that in the vast majority of his paintings roars almost never writes out the fabric and never pays attention to the background, leaving only a neutral and homogeneous dark background. However, in the case of the coronation portrait of Catherine he humbly accepts all the inevitable conventions of the main image, and does it with ease and freedom of a true master.

Antique column in the background, the velvet-covered throne, scepter and Orb (symbol of government), the details of the dress and pearls in her hair – all this shows, firstly about the level of the artist, and secondly, that his subsequent turn to chamber the portrait was intentional and programmatic. Despite all the advantages of proximity to the court, Rokotova obviously interesting domestic life of the model than the status attributes. A few years after writing the coronation portrait of Catherine .. we do not know the motives of the unauthorized break with the Academy, Petersburg leaves and leaves in far from court intrigues to no longer depend on the changeable favors of the yard and become the first Russian "freelance artist".

Author: Anna Yesterday