Portrait of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich
Before 1671 (?)/ After 1676 (?)
Alexis I Mikhailovich (March 19, 1629 – January 29, 1676). Tsar, member of the Romanov dynasty, father of Peter the Great. Son of Mikhail Fedorovich and Eudoxia Streshneva. He assumed the throne on July 14, 1645, and was crowned on September 28, 1645. During his reign the Zemsky Sobor (Assembly of the Land) passed the Law Code of 1649; the Customs (1653) and New Trade (1667) Regulations were adopted; and Ukraine came under Russian rule (1654), which led to the signing of the Truce of Andrusovo between Russia and Poland (1667). On January 16, 1648 Alexis married Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya (April 1, 1624 – March 3, 1669), together they had 13 children. On January 22, 1671 he entered into a second marriage with Natalia Naryshkina (August 22, 1651 – January 25, 1694), and had three children with her: Peter (May 30, 1672 – January 28, 1725), Natalia (August 22, 1673 – June 18, 1716), and Feodora (September 4, 1674 – November 28, 1678).
This portrait engraved by Cornelis Meyssens (1646–?) can be found among illustrations of the book Historia di Leopoldo Cesare (History of Leopold Caesar, Vienna, 1670); that is where its traditional dating comes from. However, an inscription made on the portrait “reigned and ruled” (in Latin, in the past tense) suggests that the portrait was made after the tsar’s death. The artist’s alterations and technical characteristics do not contradict the fact that the work was painted in the end of the 17th century.