Museum complex


Unknown painter from the original of 1774
The First Quarter of XIX Century
Canvas; oil paints
58 x 39 cm
Receipt: from the Museum of Revolution in 1944
Showcase 9

A copy of the portrait of captured Emelian I.Pugachev, painted in Simbirsk from nature.
October 1, 1774 captive Pugachev was delivered under the convoy, which was headed by Alexandre V.Suvorov, to Simbirsk. The next day the commander-in-chief of the troops acting against Pugachev, Count Peter I.Panin arrived there. After questioning Pugachev Count Panin instructed the artist (whose name remains unknown), to start making a portrait of the impostor. He immediately reported this to St.Petersburg in a letter to Prince Gregory A.Potemkin with a promise to send him a portrait with a courier in the nearest future, with the hope that Catherine II might be also interested to see it.
Soon the author several times repeated this portrait, and later appeared copies made by different other artists (copies from copies). One of those later copies is a portrait that belongs to the Historical Museum.

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The purpose of creating portraits of a "villain" (as they began to call Pugachev), who brought so much misfortune to the Empire, was not just simple curiosity, but also the will to confirm to people that his appearance did not at all resemble Peter III. Pugachev claimed to be the deceased Emperor Peter III. In some cases, the portrait seemed to substitute him. So, on November 6 in Kazan portrait of Pugachev was displayed to the crowd of townspeople. As one of the organizers of the event, head of the secret Commission Pavel (Paul) S.Potemkin recorded: "the villainous face was shown and after that it was burned under the gallows on the scaffold."