Portrait of Malyuta Skuratov

“Portrait of Malyuta Skuratov” by Pavel Ryzhenko

Today’s Featured Image:

“Portrait of Malyuta Skuratov”
by Pavel Ryzhenko

Doesn’t this painting depict a marvelously evil character? I love the subject’s stony glare and the opulence of the fabric. It was challenging to research, but here’s my best guess about its history.

The painting is by Pavel Ryzhenko, who was born in Russia in 1970. In 2007, he created the Ryzhenko Military Artists Studio, where he became one of the leading masters of panoramic art; specializing in scenes of Imperial Russian history, Russian Orthodox saints, and the era of Nicholas II. In 2012 Ryzhenko was awarded the title “Honored Artist of the Russian Federation.” He died in 2014.

Grigory Lukyanovich Skuratov-Belskiy, better known as Malyuta Skuratov was one of the most odious leaders of the Oprichnina during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Malyuta Skuratov rose to prominence in 1569 by taking part in the trial of Vladimir of Staritsa, Ivan IV’s only cousin and a possible claimant to the throne. In December 1569, Malyuta Skuratov strangled Philip II, by order of Ivan the Terrible, for his criticism of the Oprichnina. In January of 1570, Skuratov led a punitive expedition against Novgorod, killing thousands of its citizens on suspicion of treason. Malyuta Skuratov was killed during the siege of Weissenstein (now Paide, Estonia) in the Livonian War of 1573. He lies buried near the grave of his father in the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery.


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