Oil on canvas
68 х 86
State Russian Museum
Пост.: 1941 из финансового отдела Дзержинского района (собр. К.С.Бирюлева, Ленинград)
Nikolai Sverchkov, the son of a court coachman and groom, dedicated his entire artistic career to equine painting and the Imperial Court, which frequently commissioned work from him. Regardless of the subject, his canvases almost always featured horses. The portraits Sverchkov painted were no exception. The artist’s models, as a rule, either were riding in horse-drawn carriages or were sitting on horses. This half-portrait/half-genre painting by Sverchkov is devoid of the usual pomp of works that depict the emperor – this case, Alexander II – and shows him outside of an official situation, causing us to see him less as an autocrat, and more as a private person.
Sverchkov, Nikolai Egorovich (1817, St Petersburg — 1898, Tsarskoe Selo, near St. Petersburg)
Painter, draughtsman, lithographer, genre artist, portraitist, animal artist. Born into a family of a cabman. Did not receive professional artistic education. Worked for the Ministry of the Interior (until 1842). Awarded the title of free portraitist at the Imperial Academy of Arts for Rider, Self- Portrait, etc. (1839). Undertook painting commissions from Khrenov and Çesme stud farms (from 1840s). Academician for 'Landowner’s Troika' (1852), professor (1855). Awarded the Légion d’honneur at the World Exhibition in Paris (1863) for 'Return from the Bear Hunt', 'Fair in Voronezh', 'Postal Station'.