State Tretyakov Gallery

1684, Marseille - 1754, St. Petersburg

Portrait of Peter Alexeyevich and Tsarevna Natalia Alexeyevna in Their Youth as Apollo and Diana


  • oil on canvas. 94 х 118

  • Received in 1923 from the Kremlin Armoury (from 1866) Provenance: Palace in Kolomenskoye; later – Winter Palace (until 1761); Imperial Hermitage (from 1761)

  • State Tretyakov Gallery

Louis Caravaque’s painting is dated according to the official inventory of the artist’s works that he completed in November 1723. The entry for 1721 reads: “At the command of Mr Dever, the general and the chief of the police,” Caravaque painted “portraits of Their Majesties the Grand Prince and Princess on the same canvas; the painting is housed at my place.” The “Inventory” of paintings of the Imperial Hermitage mentions a “double painting from the room of His Imperial Highness that was given away on May 21, 1761 [...] the subjects of the portrait are Emperor Peter II when he was the Grand Prince, and His Majesty’s sister, Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeyevna.”

Tsarevich Peter is depicted holding a lyre, which is an attribute of Apollo, the patron of arts and sciences, impersonating the sun. His elder sister Tsarevna Natalia is depicted as Diana, the goddess of the moon, the hunt and chasteness, which is shown by a silver crescent moon in her hair.

Natalia Alexeyevna (August 22, 1673 – June 18, 1716) Favorite sister of Peter the Great, Tsarevna; daughter of Tsar Alexis I Mikhailovich and his second wife Natalia Naryshkina. After Tsatitsa Eudoxia Lopukhina, Peter’s first wife, was made to take the veil in 1698, Peter’s son the young Tsarevich Alexis stayed with Tsarevna Natalila in the village of Preobrazhenskoye. Peter later also sent Marta Skowrońska (baptized as Catherine with Tsarevich Alexis becoming her godfather) to stay with Natalia. Two sisters of Alexander Menshikov also stayed at the court of the tsarevna. Starting from 1708 Natalia lived in St Petersburg.

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