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date: 20 September 2019

Romanov, House of familylocked

  • Ralph M. Cleminson
  •  and G. I. Vzdornov

Extract

Russian dynasty of rulers, patrons and collectors. The period of political chaos that followed the extinction of the house of Riurik in 1598 was finally brought to an end in 1613 by the election of Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov as tsar: his descendants occupied the Russian throne until 1917. The early Romanovs were essentially medieval monarchs, whose influence on the artistic life of the country was primarily expressed in its public building, though Tsar Alexei (reg 1645–76) also placed the weight of his authority behind Patriarch Nikon’s campaign against ‘Frankish’ icons (i.e. those influenced by Western European painting). In secular culture, however, the Tsar was much more in favour of Western influence, and in his reign the style of portraiture known as parsuna, in which native and European traditions mingled, flourished. Alexei’s son, (1) Peter I (who assumed the title of Emperor), went much further: his rejection of his native traditions in favour of the culture of Western Europe led to a cultural reorientation that affected art and architecture as much as other areas of life. It also led to the exclusion of popular and native motifs from the work of professional artists until their rediscovery in the late 19th century. Peter’s daughter, ...

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