THE PORTRAIT OF FALSE DMITRIY I
False Dmitry I (?-1606), according to the most common version – Yuri Otrepyev, a monk of the Moscow Chudov (Miracle) monastery, who fled to Poland and declared himself Prince Dmitry, who allegedly miraculously escaped death in 1591. He managed to find rich patrons in Poland, among who was Senator Yuri Mnishek. The impostor, who had converted to Catholicism and gave tempting promises, gained many allies and received the favor of the Polish King Sigismund III. The campaign to Moscow, launched by False Dmitry I in the fall of 1604 with a small army, despite a number of defeats, was successful. The sudden death of Boris Godunov and assesination of Tsar Fyodor Borisovich by the insurgents paved the way to Moscow. On June 20, 1605, false Dmitry I entered the Capital, and on July 21, he was crowned to Tsardom in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. He was killed on May 17, 1606 as a result of the boyar conspiracy, led by Vasily Shuisky.More information...
This portrait is a part of a set of five paintings (two portraits and three with storyline) dedicated to the history of False Dmitry and Marina Mnishek. She comes from the Vyshnevets Castle (in the vicinity of city of Ternopil in Volyn), in the middle of the XVIIIth Century it became a propertyof the Mniszek Family, who owned it until the middle of the XIXth Century. Later the Castle changed several owners, and one of them had sold the set to the Heir to the Russian throne, Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich. A series of paintings was supposed to perpetuate for posterity the most Glorious moment of the Mnishek Family, when Marina for a short time was sitting on the Throne of Moscow. The paintings were created by different artists and at different times. They probably made up the Series a few decades after the death of its heroes when the tragic and shameful end of their personal history began to be forgotten.
Portrait of the False Dmitry and paired to it portrait of Marina Mniszek are made by the same artist and are old copies of large ceremonial gala portraits located in the Castle of Wawel in Krakow. Apparently, initially they represented a married couple in full height and an unusual round shape was made to them later.