Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna by Ivan Kramskoy

Ivan Kramskoy. Painting Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna 1881
Ivan Kramskoy. Painting Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna 1881

Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna by Ivan Kramskoy – the brilliant appearance of the Russian ruler

Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna – a picture painted by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy in 1881. The canvas shows a rather young august lady in a festive dress. On her left chest is the distinctive sign of the lady of the Grand Cross – the diamond star of the Order of St. Catherine.

The head of the empress is framed by a tiara made of precious stones in the shape of a kokoshnik. A lace veil falls from her, partially covering her shoulders and arms. The neck is adorned with a necklace of four strands of large pearls with two pendants, and the neckline is adorned with a pearl and diamond necklace. The ensemble is complemented by a brooch fixed on the dress in the center. Two intricate bracelets on the right wrist accentuate the graceful lines of the arms. With thin fingers, the heroine sorts out a slightly ajar fan – an indispensable attribute of secular ladies of that time.

The author of the picture: Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy (1837-1887).
Year of writing: 1881
Size: 109 x 74 cm.
Style: Realism.
Genre: Portrait.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.
Location: State Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

Photo Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna
Photo Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy – an outstanding Russian artist of the second half of the 19th century

A significant proportion of his work was portraiture. Among the various and unusually realistic images of ordinary and prominent people of that era, the master created many female portraits. In his creative heritage, images of representatives of the royal family have also been preserved. The portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna was commissioned by her husband, Alexander III, in the summer of 1881. Kramskoy by that time had already reached the heights of skill and was recognized as the best portrait painter in the metropolitan society.

At the request of the customer, the artist took as the basis of the composition a photograph in a formal dress, taken in the same year in the studio of Sergei Levitsky. Unable to change anything in the elements of attire and jewelry, the artist personally came to the Alexandria Palace several times. Sessions of writing from life helped him avoid idealization and create a vivid image of a young monarch.

The painting “Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna” by Ivan Kramskoy became brilliant in every sense. The work was presented and highly appreciated at the tenth traveling exhibition. The artist himself noted that the most difficult thing was to convey the incredible radiance of diamonds.

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