||Portrait of Elizabeth Petrovna as a Child
Oil on canvas
54 x 53 cm
The portrait shows Peter I's daughter, Elizabeth (1709-1761), who was Russian Empress from 1741 until her death. It is the earliest of eighteen known paintings by Ivan Nikitin, a court painter of Peter I. Although the subject looks constrained and her dress and the background are rather flat, the image is full of charm. This early work shows that the artist tried not only to precisely convey the girl's appearance, but to show her mood and character. She wears a sumptuous, heavy, low-necked dress and an ermine mantle, her hair dressed like that of an adult, as was customary in formal royal portraits.