Princess Tarakanova by #KonstantinFlavitsky
The story of the Princess Tarakanova has two origins from which the #painter
Konstantin Flavitsky could have drawn his inspiration. The first tells of an illegitimate daughter of empress Elizabeth the Great, who spent her days in a monastery, under a watchful eye of guards. Her last days would be spent there as well.
The second story entails far more interesting details. During the reign of Empress Catherine II, a #beautiful
young lady living in Italy but with her sights set on the Russian #throne
presents herself to the Roman society as a #Russian #Princess.
Catherine II ordered Count Orlov to travel to Italy and bring the #impostor
back. The Count pretended to fall #inlove
with the “Princess” and enticed her to board the ship bound for St. Petersburg. There she was shackled and taken to the Petropavlovskaya #fortress.
According to #legend,
Catherine ordered her imprisoned in a cell that was known to flood each time the waters in the #Neva
River rose…. Historians have their own reasons to doubt the documentary claims of this painting. According to official records, Tarakanova died two years before the historic flood of September 21, 1777 when the waters in the Neva River rose 310 cm above normal levels.
caused quite a furor among the members of the #royalfamily
as the #secret
of the #Countess
Tarakanova was closely guarded and here Flavitsky presents the story and its heroine with such great mastery. The painter was subsequently forced to announce that the subject matter was drawn from a #novel
that was in no way connected to the royal family.
#inevitability #emotional #storm #oldmasters #art #painting