“Princess Tarakanov” – the most famous work of Konstantin Dmitrievich Flavitsky, for which he was awarded the title of professor of painting. Contemporaries appreciated the uniqueness of the picture, the originality of the plot and its unusual artistic solution.
The picture shows an adventurer, Princess Tarakanova, the imaginary daughter of Empress Elizabeth and Emelyan Pugachev’s sister. The most famous impostor of Russia, according to legend, imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, she died during the flood. In fact, the Neva’s escape from the shores happened much later than the real death of the princesses and the prisoners of the prison really drowned, but Flavitsky liked the tragic plot so much that he combined the truth and fiction into one whole,
The main theme of the art canvas is the despair of a young beauty at the sight of a stream of water that quickly fills the camera through the casemate window. A dirty stream had already flooded the whole room for a third, wet rats were being saved on the bed of the prisoner, but there was no way out. The picture is permeated with the true drama of the situation and the inevitability of death. The unhappy man presses his back against the wall, his head is thrown back to the sky, as if she is praying and asking God to forgive her and pardon. Or the whole of her short life swiftly passes before her eyes.
The whole stop of the camera is even more disposed to despair. The walls of the prison, cold and stone, with dumping plaster and a simple table with dishes of the prisoner. The table is nailed so tightly that water can not move it. Similarly, Princess Tarakanov as if nailed to the wall by despair and the desperation of the situation.
Flavitsky’s painting makes an indelible impression, evokes sympathy for the dying girl and wants to find out for what grave crimes she is imprisoned in a casemate. But her mystery remains an unsolved mystery.