Richard Brompton

Portrait of Catherine II

Portrait of Catherine II
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Richard Brompton
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 83x69 cm
Origin: Britain, 1782-1782

Catherine the Great was born Princess Sophia Augusta Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst. In 1745 she married Grand Duke Pyotr Fyodorovich who succeeded to the Russian throne as Peter III in 1761, and after his death in the following year she became Empress Catherine II.

It is possible that this work by Brompton - who moved from England to Russia at the invitation of Catherine herself after she paid all his debts - was produced for the artist's friend, the court apothecary Grevo. The painting is official in tone and the artist accentuates the attributes of power. Catherine II is shown wearing the lesser imperial crown and a laurel wreath, with an ermine mantle and the large chain and star of the highest award in Russia, the Order of St Andrew the First-Called, as well as the black and yellow ribbon of the Order of St George, 1st Class. It would seem that this half-length was the precursor to an allegorical painting which remained unfinished on the artist's death.

Personage: Catherine II
Source of entry: Romanov Gallery, the Small Hermitage, 1918

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