“Peter I on the deathbed”, Ivan Nikitich Nikitin – overview

“Peter I on the deathbed”, Ivan Nikitich Nikitin – overview
“Peter I on the deathbed”, Ivan Nikitich Nikitin - overview - 1

  • Posted by Ivan Nikitich Nikitin
  • Museum: Russian Museum
  • Year: 1725

Overview of the painting :

Peter I on the deathbed – Ivan Nikitich Nikitin. Oil on canvas. 54 x 36 cm
   Favorite painter Peter I, court portrait painter Ivan Nikitich Nikitin was well acquainted with his whole family, had the opportunity to communicate with the sovereign, sometimes accompanied him on trips. All this is reflected in the portraits of Peter 1 created by him. But on January 29, 1725 he was invited to write the last portrait of the king. Devastated by loss, the artist creates this picture, having managed to convey in it both a sense of sorrow and the greatness of the monarch. This is one of the most mature works of the master.

   Deep drowning in pillows, lies Peter I. In deep folds, strands of black hair are lost. A calm face froze with tight-fitting lips and stubborn wrinkles between shifted eyebrows. Gray-brown shadows frame closed eyes. A thin dark chestnut strip of mustache emphasizes the dead pale face, turning into blurry ash-gray halft of the half-ton under the nose and on a round chin with a dimple. The trepidation of candles with warm golden reflections lies on the skin, creating the illusion of life.

   The cold white color of the shirt echoes the marble skin shades. A pale-golden blanket of heavy silk glows glows dimly, in a dim light, the dark blue fabric of mantle, shaded by a fur, seems almost black.

   The artist’s laconic palette conveys sadness and loss pain – muted gray, blue and white colors are harmoniously combined with blurry light yellow tones. The master works quickly and inspirationally in order to manage to convey the indomitable spirit and strong character of the Sovereign, so only his face is carefully prescribed. The rest is written with quick, light smears, the primer shines around the edges of the picture, but despite this, the painter perfectly conveyed and crumpled folds on the shirt, and the soft fluidity of the silk, and the ease of fluffy fur.

   Before us is a great, imperious person, full of energy and inner strength, who did not have time to accomplish everything conceived. The mournful picture is not only full of the feeling of loss of a loved one, but also keeps it in tension, passing the experience for the future fate of the country.