State Hermitage, St. Petersburg

1675, Florence - 1744, St.Petersburg

Portrait of Peter I


The portrait is based on a mask that was taken from the face of Peter the Great in 1719. There is a legend that Peter the Great gave the bust to Cardinal Ottoboni to thank him for sending an antique marble statue of Venus (which was subsequently named the “Venus Tauride” in the 19th century) to Russia. However, the legend has never been confirmed. According to Friedrich Wilhelm von Bergholz, Rastrelli gave an identical wax bust “made of a special kind of plaster and covered with metallic paint” to the duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1724.

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