Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Court Painter – Mihaly Zichy (1827-1906)

The artist Mihaly Zichy completed drawings, watercolors and albums for Nicholas I since 1852.

On May 30, 1859 Alexander II appointed Zichy as Court Painter. On February 10th, 1860 the Emperor ordered his officials to provide the artist with a workshop on the ground floor of the New Hermitage.

For fifteen years, Zichy chronicled the life of the Court. The only stipulation was that sketches of the private life of the Imperial family were to be given personally to Alexander II.

Zichy’s painting (below) of the Dinner in the Concert Hall for Wilhelm I of Germany in 1873.


Zichy was dismissed from his appointment in January 1874 and left Russia. Then in 1881, Zichy was reappointed Court Painter by Alexander III.

Zichy’s painting (below) of a Winter Palace Ball in 1899.


Zichy’s 32 large watercolors of Alexander’s coronation in 1883 were only partially completed. With the consent of Nicholas II in 1895, the paintings were kept in glass-covered frames on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace.

On January 19th, 1899 Nicholas II wrote “… after dinner we looked at Zichy’s wonderful drawings for Alexander III coronation album …”

Zichy's sketch (below) of Grand Duke Vladimir for the 1883 Coronation Album.


Although now aging and ill, Zichy continued sketching Court events under Nicholas II.

On May 4th, 1896 Nicholas II wrote “… after lunch saw Zichy to discuss his artistic works at Moscow coronation …”

Zichy made a series of sketches for a panorama of Moscow. On his return to St. Petersburg, he put them on a large sheet but the work was left unfinished and stored on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace.


Zichy’s sketch (below) of Nicholas II and family in 1903.

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