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Bust of Maria Fedorovna

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Bust of Maria Fedorovna

Made by: Seriakov, Iakov Panfilovich

On view in: Icon Room

About this object

Iakov Panfilovich Seriakov carved this ivory bust of Maria Fedorovna, wife of Alexander III, in 1882, shortly after her husband came to the throne. Although unsigned, this bust forms a pair with a signed bust of Alexander III now in the Hermitage. Seriakov, who was born in a village, moved to Saint Petersburg with his father and two brothers. In the capital city Seriakov worked in his father’s hardware shop, where he devised locks. He apparently discovered the technique of carving on ivory quite accidentally, and in 1839 he was sent at government expense to the Academy of Arts. After graduation, he received several important commissions. This bust of the empress is among the last works of his career.

Portrait of Empress Maria Fedorovna, wife of Alexander III. Her young, serious face looks straight ahead. Her hair is braided around her head with roses tucked into the top of her coiffure, and she wears a corsage of roses at her shoulder. The ruffles, beading, and lace that decorate her neckline and the ropes of pearls around her neck have all been realistically carved. The imperial double-headed eagle is carved on the front of the pedestal under an ermine-lined mantle. There is an inscription on the front and date on the back.

Object name:
Bust of Maria Fedorovna
Made from:
Mammoth ivory
Made in:
RUSSIA: Saint Petersburg
Date made:
overall __10.44 IN
overall __26.51 CM

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
INSCRIPTION __below bust: in Cyrillic "Gosudarynia Imperatritsa Mariya" (Her Majesty Empress Maria); on the back: 1882
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
Featured in publication:
"A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum","Russian Art at Hillwood"