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PORTRAIT OF CATHERINE II

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PORTRAIT OF CATHERINE II

Made by: Pierre Etienne Falconet

On view in: Entry Hall


About this object

Pierre-Etienne Falconet was the only son of famed French sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791), from whom Catherine II commissioned "The Bronze Horseman," the celebrated equestrian monument to Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. Prior to joining his father at Catherine’s court, Pierre-Etienne worked in Paris under the English engraver John Ingram and from 1767 to 1772 as an apprentice in the London studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He arrived in the Russian capital in 1773 and through his father’s connections soon secured a commission to paint the empress from life. The resulting full-length portrait of Catherine with her pet whippet hung in the Hermitage before the 1917 Revolution. This painting is an abbreviated version of it, showing the empress in half-length.

The Empress is shown in half-length. With her body set almost at right angles to the oval frame, her head is turned sharply towards the viewer. Her brown satin court gown complements the blue sash and star of the order of St. Andrew and the star of the Order of St. George. A small diamond crown is set well back on her gray, simply dressed hair.

Category:
paintings
Object name:
PORTRAIT OF CATHERINE II
Made from:
Oil on canvas
Made in:
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Date made:
1773
Size:
68.6 x 55.9 cm (27 x 22 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
51.60
Class:
PAINTING
Signature marks:
SIGNATURE P. Falconet 1773 At bottom right in script.
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
Featured in publication:
"Exuberance of Meaning: The Art Patronage of Catherine the Great (1762-1769)","A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum"