Christina Robertson

Portrait of Grand Princesses Olga Nikolayevna and Alexandra Nikolayevna

Portrait of Grand Princesses Olga Nikolayevna and Alexandra Nikolayevna
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Christina Robertson
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 36.5x29.5 cm
Origin: Britain, 1840

The work of Scottish painter Christina Robertson is very much the product of the Victorian age in Britain. The moralizing and sentimental tone which dominated British society and arts was, however, fully in keeping with the tastes of the Russian aristocracy. Robertson's main clients in St Petersburg came from the family of the Emperor Nicholas I, and their example led many others to follow suit in giving her commissions. Christina Robertson was an extremely talented miniaturist, which influenced even her larger works, as in this intimate portrait of Nicholas's daughters Olga and Alexandra. The clients liked the truthful depiction of rich silks, of the transparency of glass and the fragility of flowers. The open idealization of the sitters and the replacement of real feeling with sugary sentiment allowed stricter critics to speak of Robertson's "flattering brush". Nonetheless, she remained one of the most popular and highly paid portrait painters in Russia in the 1840s.

Grand Princess Olga Nikolayevna , from 1846 wife of Charles Frederick Alexander, Prince of W├╝rttemberg, is depicted sitting at the clavecin. Standing next to her is Grand Princess Alexandra Nikolayevna , from 1843 wife of Frederick George Adolphus, Prince of Hesse-Cassel.

Source of entry: Winter Palace, 1929

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