25 November 2019
Portrait of Metropolitan Platon .
Oil on canvas, 69.5 by 50.5 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, UK.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
The present lot offered here for auction is an outstanding portrait of Metropolitan Platon (1737–1812), an important figure in the Orthodox Church in eighteenth-century Imperial Russia. Born Petr Georgievich Levshin, Platon was celebrated for introducing a number of important measures in the tutoring and establishment of the Russian Orthodox doctrine.
Platon’s preaching and skill at rhetoric caught the attention of Empress Catherine II, who summoned him to court in 1763 to instruct the young heir apparent, future emperor Paul I, on Russian Orthodox theology.
Platon was the one of the first in the Church hierarchy to become more accepting of the Old Believers and allowed them to establish their first chapels in Moscow, notably in the Preobrazhenskoye Cemetery. In 1800 he ratified the Edinoverie arrangement, which permitted Old Believers to join the official church whilst maintaining their own religious traditions and rites. Such acts for a leader of the Church were unprecedented and established Platon as a radical figure.
Coming from a humble background — born to a family of a village priest — Platon quickly rose through the ranks of the church, becoming a member of the Holy Synod in 1768, Bishop of Tver in 1770, before returning to Moscow in 1775 to be enthroned as archbishop and later, in 1787, as a Metropolitan of Moscow. He rarely visited the city though, preferring to remain at the Spaso-Vifansky monastery near Trinity Lavra of St Sergius and the Nikolo-Perervinsky monastery outside of Moscow, continuing his role of tutor at the seminaries and personally supervising three future archbishops of Moscow.
The present lot depicts Platon dressed in the sacred Metropolitan vestments and decorated with Imperial Russian orders, namely the Order of St Andrew and the Order of Alexander Nevsky, highlighting his significant rank in the Russian Orthodox Church and at the Imperial Russian Court.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.