|Portrait of Grigory Rasputin
Grey card, coloured pencil, pastel
81.5 x 56 cm
Grigory Rasputin (Novykh) (1869-1916), a well-known starets (an unordained religious person), was very popular at the court of Nicholas II. He came from a family of wealthy peasants in the Tobolsk gubernia (region). From 1905 he lived in St. Petersburg. There he was introduced into the house of Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich (junior) by the Rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. The wife of the latter introduced Rasputin to the imperial family, and, due to his apparent ability to alleviate the sufferings of Tsarevich Alexey, who had hemophilia, he managed to exert great influence over Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, her daughters, and Nicholas II himself. Rasputin was killed on the night of December 18, 1916, in the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, by conspirators including Prince Felix Yusupov, Member of the State Duma Vladimir Purishkevich, and Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich.
The portrait is a rare image of the starets, who is mostly known through his photographs.