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Portrait of Peter III

Painting, 1762, 250×179 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of Peter III»

Formal portrait of Emperor Peter III was a rare success in the work of Alexei Antropov. And it is not only career success: rokotovskie portrait came to power Emperor for some reason rejected, and antropovsky accepted. We are talking about luck creative when in a tough, standardized part of the main image manages to retain a human individuality portrayed.

The son of the eldest daughter of Peter I, Anna, he was named at birth Charles Peter Ulrich, was born and spent his childhood in Holstein-Gottorp, and as the grandnephew of the king of Sweden Charles XII, was to lay claim to the Swedish throne, this is what the process of education and preparing. Fate decreed otherwise: the native aunt, the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna wrote a nephew in Russia, and he determined to marry a German woman Sophia Frederic August (the future Catherine the great), derived from the beloved Peter III of Prussia. This marriage, contrary to expectations, was, as you know, very unhappy. Peter III was infantile, in their bedroom prefer to play with toy soldiers, sincerely fond of a military drill, deified Prussia and was extremely unpopular among the people, which he was to lead. Catherine amazement wrote of him: "How can 20 years to live in Russia and hate everything Russian?"

When Peter III ascended the throne, he immediately moved in barely finished the Winter Palace – it was built for the Empress Elizabeth, but to live there and did not. Palace urgently needed to decorate the portraits of the new monarch. Surprisingly quickly podsuetilis roars, but his portrait of the Emperor rejected. The Synod was recommended for the job Antropov. The fact may seem curious: the Russian Orthodox Church Peter III did not complain, standing in the Church, parading loudly, could even laugh during the service or just turn around in the middle of the Liturgy and leave. Antropov was a "warden for painters" in the Holy Synod, and, obviously, his work could be something like restore diplomatic bridges between the new Emperor and the Synod.

The artist had heard about the oddities of the Royal family. In addition, it was supposed to be his first formal portrait. But Antropov did. Later, many felt that he portrayed a caricature of the Emperor. Said it was a man-grasshopper, which is, like dances. His big belly, small head and frog mouth. His face is not greatness, but a foolish vanity. However, paradoxically, Peter III left this picture very happy, found it wonderful and similar.

The court Antropov's career ended as suddenly as it had begun: in just six months, who favored him Peter III is overthrown in a Palace coup by his wife Catherine. And she will trust your coronation portrait Fedor Rokotov master, certainly more significant than Antropov.

Later, by order of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery Antropov once again I will write a portrait of Peter III this time generational and pair to the portrait of Empress Catherine II. However, re-writing from life, the artist never happened: when he starts working on the Lavra portraits, Peter III is already in the grave, "chance" if he was murdered by the Orlov brothers with the tacit approval of Catherine, or died of a heart attack due to the special disfunkcii, "little hearts" – that we hardly know.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1762

Size: 250×179 cm

Artwork in selections: 14 selections