Pietro Antonio Rotari, style of, second half of the 18th century: Portrait of Tsarevich Paul Petrovich of Russia. Unsigned. Oil on canvas. 80×62 cm.
Portrait of Tsarevich Paul Petrovich of Russia (1754–1801), from 1796 Tsar Paul I of Russia, son of Tsar Peter III of Russia and Tsaritsa Catherine II the Great of Russia, dressed in a red jacket, gold embroidered vest and lace collar, bearing the cross of the Imperial Russian Order of Saint Anna as well as the star and blue ribbon of the Imperial Russian Order of Saint Andrew, holding an ermine cloak. Unsigned. Oil on canvas laid on canvas. 80×62 cm. Régence revival frame, 19th century.
Literature: N. G. Presnova, “Collection of Portraits of Count Sheremetev in Kuskovo”, Moscow 2002, a similar portrait is reproduced and mentioned p. 183, this measuring 83.5×71 cm. The location of the original portrait by Rotati is unknown today. Besides the portrait in the Collection of Count Sheremetev, the portrait type is also known from the Ivanovskii Region Art Museum (painted by A. P. Antropov 1761), the Chinese Palace Museum in Lomonosov (painted by A. P. Antropov 1761) and the Arkhangelskoye Palace outside Moscow (unknown artist, 18th century).
Tsar Paul I (1754–1801) was son of Tsar Peter III and Tsaritsa Catherine II the Great, though, she hinted in her memoirs that the father could be her lover, Count Sergei Saltykov. Under all circumstances, the tsarevich had Romanov blood, when the count was a descendant of Tatiana Feodorovna Romanova, a sister of the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail I. Tsarevich Paul Petrovich was born in St. Petersburg and his education was from the birth in the hands of his father’s aunt, Tsaritsa Elisabeth. She was happy that the Imperial succession was secured after several troubled years since Peter the Great's reign. Even though, he was described as a needed, sickly and lonely boy. In 1773 he married with Princess Wilhelmina Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt and after her death in childbirth he married Princess Sophia Dorothea of Württemberg in 1773, now Tsarevna Maria Feodorovna. They got ten children, among others the later Tsar Alexander I, Grand Duke Konstantin, Grand Duchess Alexandra, Grand Duchess Catherine and the later Tsar Nicholas I. Due to his upbringing by the aunt, Tsarevich Paul and his mother never got close. It was also said that she did not like him because he was similar with his father. On the other hand, Tsarevich Paul Petrovich idolized his father's memorial, which his mother did not aprove as well. After all, their marriage was not happy, and the murder of Peter III was actually carried out by the brother of Catherine II the Great's lover. When his firstborn son, Alexander (I) was born in 1777, Catherine II the Great also saw him as her natural heir. Rumours said that she would exclude him from the Russian throne and leave it to Grand Duke Alexander (I). This is maybe the reason why, Paul I as Russian Tsar from 1796, the year after completed the Pauline Laws, which established the male inheritance rights in the House of Romanov. Tsar Paul I was never a popular ruler and he was murdered in St. Petersburg 1801, followed by his son, now Tsar Alexander I.
Provenance: Acquired by Richard and Erica Zeiner-Henriksen 1922–1927 in St. Petersburg. When they moved into the Saltykov Palace in St. Petersburg 1922, the portrait was situated in their residence as left inventory from the Saltykov family. The palace was originally a present from Tsaritsa Catherine the Great to Prince Nikolai Ivanovich Saltykov. It was a reward being the tutor of her grandsons, Tsarevich Alexander Pavlovich (I) and Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovch, sons of Tsareivch Paul Petrovich. Therefore, it is possible that this portrait at first also was a present from the Imperial family to the Saltykov family.
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Russian art & icons, 9 June 2017
Pietro Antonio Rotari, style of, second half of the 18th century
- Price realised