Peter I (the Great; 1672–1725) was the younger son of the Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. He became Tsar in 1682 (until 1696, he ruled jointly with his brother Ivan V). From 1721, he was the first Emperor of All the Russias.
The painting was created in the European tradition, with the monarch participating in a battle scene. A scholar doing research on Peter’s iconography pointed out as far back as one and a half centuries ago that this “image of the tsar is not so similar to other portraits of his.” In the catalogue of a portrait exhibition organized in 1870, the painting was said to be a “study completed” for a large painting, which was ordered from Tannauer in 1718.