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Lot 249: PORTRAIT BUST OF A LATE 18TH/EARLY 19TH CENTURY RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MILITARY OFFICE, PROBABLY FIELD MARSHALL MIKHAIL GULENISCHEV-KUTUZO...
29 October 2016
PORTRAIT BUST OF A LATE 18TH/EARLY 19TH CENTURY RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MILITARY OFFICE, PROBABLY FIELD MARSHALL MIKHAIL GULENISCHEV-KUTUZOV
Marble, wearing a peruke, mantle and sash, as well as the Orders of Saint Andrew, Saint Alexander-Nevsky, Saint George, Saint Vladimir, and a Royal Badge of Tsar Paul I. 29 1/2 x 23 x 13 in.
Note: Although the identity of the sitter has yet to be definitively ascertained, his costume and the fact that he is wearing a panoply of the highest Russian Imperial Orders indicates that he was an extremely senior officer at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries, during the reigns of the Russian Empress Catherine II "the Great" (1729-1796) and her son Tsar Paul I (1754-1801). It has been plausibly suggested that the sitter may be Field Marshall Mikhail Gulenischev-Kutuzov (1745-1813). Kutuzov was and remains one of Russia''s most highly regarded military leaders. Twice badly wounded (in 1774 and 1788), he served as a diplomat in Prussia, general governor of Lithuania, and governor of St. Petersburg under the erratic Tsar Paul I, from whom he received the Order of Saint Andrew in 1801. Kutuzov later achieved lasting fame for repelling Napoleon''s invasion of Russia in 1812. So revered is Kutuzov''s memory that in 1942 a Soviet Order for military leadership was named after him, and it is still awarded by the Russian Federation.
The orders worn by the sitter include the Imperial Order of Saint Andrew,
established by Peter the Great in 1698, this was the highest ranking of all Tsarist Orders. It was conferred only by the Tsar, and only to the most distinguished individuals, be they military or civilian officials of the Empire. Any recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew was also automatically made a Knight of the Order of Alexander-Nevsky, the White Eagle, and conferred with first class Orders of both Saint Anne and Saint Stanislaus. The Order of Alexander-Nevsky was founded in 1725 by Catherine I, and was almost exclusively awarded to high ranking military officers. The Order of Saint George, was established by Catherine the Great in 1796 and was one of the most prized of all Tsarist Orders; it was presented to officers of the Russian Army and Navy for extreme bravery in the face of the enemy.