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# 26585

Augustin Ritt (1765-1799)-Attrib. "Portrait of Count Valerian Zubov", Important Miniature!!, 1796/99

2000  EUR - 25% DISCOUNT = 1500,00 EUR
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 1500,00 USD

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A very rare portrait of the famous favorite of Catherine the Great - Valerian Alexandrovich Zubov.

Count Valerian Alexandrovich Zubov (1771-1804) was a younger brother of Catherine the Great's lover Count Platon Alexandrovich Zubov. He was reputed by contemporaries as "the most handsome man in Russia". The legend has it, that Catherine flirted also with him, secretly from his brother. During her reign Count Valerian was much lionized as a military hero of incredible valor. He was appointed Major-General and sent against the rebels in Poland, where he was said to treat both the Polish noblemen and their wives brazenly and "in the most lowly manner". During his stay in Poland he married Countess Potocka and lost his leg in a toy battle.
Several months before Catherine's death, the 24-year-old Valerian was invited to take charge of the army heading for Persia. Of this chimerical venture, engineered by both Zubov brothers and aiming at the conquest of all Asia up to Tibet, there came nothing good. Valerian managed little beyond taking Derbent and was recalled to Russia in disgrace. His return, however, occasioned a superb ode by Derzhavin, meditating on the fleeting nature of fortune and success.
In the reign of Paul I, Valerian was in ungraciousness until, by the Senat's Decree in the late 1800, he received all his estates back (these had been confiscated to the government, since he had supposedly embezzled large amounts of the government monies). Count Valerian joined in a conspiracy against Paul I, but didn't personally take part in the murder of him.
In March of 1801 Valerian became one of the twelve members of the State Council, but was not particularly supported by Paul's son, the new Tsar Alexander I. Count Valerian died on the 21. June 1804 and was buried in the Troitsk-Sergiev Hermitage on the Peterhof Road near St.Petersburg.
Among his many rewards, Valerian held the St.George's Order of 2nd Degree (1796, for capture of Derbent). We see the cross of this Order hanging on the Order's ribbon around the sitter's neck.

Unfortunately the condition of this important miniature is not exactly perfect. Nevertheless, it remains a very interesting object for collectors of Russian portraits. Our additional images nr.6-11 show a few other portraits of Valerian Zubov.

The miniature is not signed, but shows all stylistic criteria of works by the famous Russian portrait miniaturist Augustin Christian Ritt (1765 St.Petersburg - 1799 ibidem). Our additional images nr.12-15 with some of his miniatures give a good comparison, which convincingly confirms this attribution.

Augustin Christian Ritt (1765 St. Petersburg - 1799 St. Petersburg) was a son of a violinist of the court orchestra. He began his studies at the St.Petersburg Academy, from 1781 to 1785 was a pupil of A.B. Queertmort in Antwerp and the following year went to Paris, where he was a pupil of A.F. Vincent. In 1792 Ritt returned to St.Petersburg, had great success there and became court miniaturist and member of the Academy. In 1799 he exhibited at the Salon of Paris.
Schidlof says that Ritt can be considered as one of the greatest miniaturists of his period and can be placed in the same class as Hall and Fueger.

Provenance: Private collection, South African Republic; Antique Shop, London.

Click here for RUSSIAN PORTRAIT MINIATURES!

Condition: Fair, two cracks, a minimal paint loss between 14.30 and 15.30 o'clock, in standing brass Neoclassical frame of the late 19th century.

Creation Year: 1796/99

Measurements: UNFRAMED:3,5x3,5cm/1,4x1,4in FRAMED: 8,5x6,2cm/3,3x2,4in

Object Type: Framed painting

Style: Portrait miniatures

Technique: watercolor on ivory

Inscription: -

Creator: Augustin Christian Ritt
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!

Creator Dates: 1765 St. Petersburg-1799 St. Petersburg

Nationality: Russian

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