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Portrait of Peter III. 1762

Antropov Alexei,
Oil on canvas
242 x 174,5

State Russian Museum


Peter Fyodorovich (1728–1762) was the son of Tsesarevna Anna Petrovna and Duke Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp. He was the grandson of two irreconcilable enemies: the Russian emperor Peter I and the Swedish king Charles XII. He was raised in the spirit of Swedish patriotism, which was expressed, among other ways, in a hatred of Russia. From 1742, he was the heir to the Russian throne. From 25 December 1761 to 28 June 1762, he was Emperor Peter III. He was never crowned. In imitation of Peter I, he intended to conduct a series of reforms. His “Manifesto on the Freedom of the Nobility”, the abolition of the Secret Investigative Affairs Office and the secularisation of church lands be came the foundation for the subsequent legislative activities of Catherine II. In traditional historiography, he is characterised, and not without reason, as an ignorant, weak-minded Russophobe. He was overthrown in a palace coup led by his own wife, the future Empress Catherine II. He is depicted in the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment. He wears the officer badge and the ribbon and star of St Andrew.

Author's Biography

Antropov Alexei

Antropov, Alexei Petrovich
1716, St Petersburg - 1795, St Petersburg
Painter, portraitist, icon-painter. Studied under Louis Caravaque, Andrei Matveyev and Alexander Zakharov, took lessons from Pietro de Rotari (from 1732). Joined the painting department of the Ministry of Construction (1739), foreman (1749). Helped to decorate the interiors of palaces in and around St Petersburg and Moscow. Painted the interior decor of the Si Petersburg Opera House (1750). Created murals and icons for St Andrew’s Cathedral in Kiev (1750-55). Lived in St Petersburg (from 1758). Worked for the Holy Synod and supervised the work of painters (from 1761), Taught Dmitry Levitsky and Pyotr Drozhdin.

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