Louis Tocque

Portrait of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna

Portrait of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna
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Author: Louis Tocque
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 262x204 cm
Origin: France, 1758

Tocque, French court painter and author of many works for the royal residence at Versailles, painted this portrait of the Russian Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in St Petersburg in 1758. Luxurious and majestic, the portrait continues the traditions of 17th-century French official portraiture. The Empress is shown in traditional majestic pose, holding the mace and sceptre - symbols of power, wearing a flowing mantle, and set against a background of columns and rich drapery. Despite the generalised, representational purpose of the portrait, however, the artist did not totally reject his own personal approach, consisting not only in aiming for a likeness of the sitter, but also in bringing out their character, for which purpose he studied peculiarities of pose and facial expression, making many sketches. The Empress's facial expression is gracious, introducing an element of softness into this official portrait.

Source of entry: Romanov Gallery, Winter Palace, 1918

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