|Portrait of Paul I - 1796-1797
Oil on canvas
154 x 116 cm
Paul (1754-1801) was the son of Peter III and Catherine II. This austere portrait presents him wearing the uniform of a colonel of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. It was created in 1796 during the period of mourning for Catherine II, who died that year. An excellent portrait painter, Stepan Shchukin avoided magnificence to reveal the contradictory nature of this most original Russian Emperor, who announced that he would be "a severe herald of power." The principal tendency of Paul I's state activity was to refute his mother's policies. His reign ended on March 12, 1801, when he was killed by a group of conspirators in the Mikhailovsky Castle.