Borovikovsky, Portrait of Paul I in white dalmatik – overview

Borovikovsky, Portrait of Paul I in white dalmatik – overview
Borovikovsky, Portrait of Paul I in white dalmatik - overview - 1

  • Posted by: Borovikovsky Vladimir Lukich
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1800

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Paul I in white Dalmatik – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Oil on canvas. 49 x 33 cm

   Before us is a portrait of the Russian emperor Paul I, who ruled on the throne for a short time, less than five years, since 1796. The son of Catherine the Great and Peter III, he is considered one of the dramatic and unhappy rulers of Russia.

   The portrait was written by Borovikovsky in 1800, and in 1801 Paul I would die as a result of a conspiracy.

   On the canvas, Borovikovsky depicts a sovereign in the ceremonial, most solemn attire. It is important that Paul rises before the throne, the pose of his pride, he feels that he likes all this rehearsal before the coronation.

   With him, all the attributes of state power are the main imperial crown, the ermine mantle, scepter, tape, chain and star of St. Andrew the First-Called.

   But, first of all, Paul I demanded to put on a white Dalmatik. Why is this particular clothing so important for Pavel Petrovich?

   Dalmatik is a richly decorated, from expensive fabric clothes of Byzantine rulers, symbolizing justice and salvation in Christianity. It is also not a long, with wide sleeves mantle, which is worn by grandmasters or great masters of the Order of Malta.

   In 1798, when the religious knightly order of the Roman Catholic Church remained without leadership and without a country of residence (Malta was influenced by the British Empire), Paul I declared himself the defender and patron of the Order of Malta and was crowned the great master.

   Borovikovsky emphasized the details of Pavel Petrovich’s belonging to the order – the Maltese cross on the chest and on the crown of the great master, which lies on the table on the right, next to another symbol of royal power – the power.

   Perhaps Emperor Paul I, as a passionate supporter of all kinds of order rituals, saw a certain meaning in this combination, because the power symbolizes dominion over the whole world.

   In working on the portrait, Borovikovsky proved himself to be a great master of writing the texture of materials – how white velvet pouring into the wrinkles, how the ribbons and fringe of the low-dammatic shine with pleasant gold, how softly and nobly the ermine fur is felt, how precious stones are reflected on the crown.