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Portraits of illegitimate children of Russian emperors

The moron, the redhead, the consumptive, the "daughter" of Lermontov's second, and the trinity with the gloss of Makovsky's brush. The descendants of the ruling dynasty, born of favorites, - what secrets are hidden from their images? We are looking at the "fruits of love" of the Romanov family. In the Russian kingdom, in contrast to medieval Europe and morality, at least in the annals, it was strictly: there are no references to extramarital affairs and the children of monarchs (the exception is Ivan the Terrible). The situation changed after Peter the Great turned Russia into a Russian empire. The yard began to focus on France, including gallant adventures. However, the appearance of bastards at first did not affect it. In the first half of the XVIII century, the Romanov dynasty had a deficit of legitimate heirs, not that of illegitimate children. With the accession of Catherine the Great in 1762, stability ensued in the country - it affected the growth of the birth rate of extramarital offspring. And, of course, the appearance of works of art dedicated to them. Son of Catherine II Alexei Grigorievich Bobrinsky was the son of the empress Catherine Alekseevna (without an ordinal number) and her favorite Grigory Orlov. He came into the world under stressful conditions: Catherine was pregnant when Empress Elizabeth Petrovna died in December 1761 and her lawful husband Peter III ascended the throne. Relations between the spouses were already very tense by that time, they did not communicate much, and the emperor did not even know about the interesting position of Catherine. When the time of birth came in April, a faithful valet Shkurin set fire to his house to distract Peter, who adored looking at the fire. Hardly having recovered (has passed hardly more than two months), Ekaterina has headed coup, and has spent the night without leaving the horse. Alexei grew up quite unlike his passionary, intelligent parents, education was bad, he was boozing, made debts and, on the orders of an angry mother, her whole reign lived in the Baltics, away from the court. On the portrait of the Rokotov brush, a boy with a silver rattle in his hands is depicted at the age of about a year. When the picture was taken to the Russian Museum, it was believed that this was a portrait of his half-brother, Emperor Paul. The elusive resemblance to the features of the mother, and also the fact that the picture came from her private quarters seemed to confirm this version. However, specialists in the work of Rokotov saw that, judging by the style, the picture was created in the middle of the 1760s, when Pavel was already ten years old. Comparison with other portraits of Bobrinsky proved that it is he who is depicted. The daughter of Catherine II Elizaveta Grigorevna Temkina was the daughter of Empress Gregory Potemkin's favorite - this is evidenced by her artificial shortened name (such as Russian aristocrats gave to illegitimate children), and the patronymic and the words of her son. Who exactly was her mother, unlike Bobrinsky, is a mystery. Catherine II never paid attention to her, nevertheless the version about her motherhood is widespread. The son of Temkina, directly indicating that she is Potemkin by her father, writes evasively that Elizaveta Grigoryevna "on the part of the mother is also of highly descent". John Vassos If the empress is really her mother, she gave birth to the child at the age of 45, during the celebration of the Kyuchuk-Kainarji world, when, according to the official version, Catherine suffered from a stomach disorder due to unwashed fruit. The education of the girl was handled by Potemkin's nephew Count Alexander Samoilov. When she grew up, she was given a huge dowry and married to Ivan Kalaguordi, a schoolmate of one of the great princes. Tenkina gave birth to ten children and, apparently, was happy. One of her daughters married the son of the sculptor Martos - is it really possible that the author of "Minin and Pozharsky" was related to the Romanovs? Illustration for Oscar Wilde's 'Salome'