During his 12 years in Italy Bryullov created many ceremonial portraits and among them was Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with Daughter Maria (1830, State Russian Museum). The art piece from the State Tretyakov Gallery is a half-figure portrait from life for that large ceremonial portrait. The wife (from 1824) of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1798–1849), Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (1806–1873), née Friederike Charlotte of Württemberg, was the daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg. She received a good education in Paris, was distinguished by her quick-wittedness, was interested in science and engaged in charity. Thanks to moving from small Stuttgart to Petersburg, she became able to use those abilities. The portrait by Bryullov depicts a 23-year-old attractive lady with jewelry made of large pearls. The portrait fits well into the oval, which allows not only to carefully examine the Grand Duchess herself, but also to admire her fashionable at the time high hairdo which was called a “giraffe”.
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