1821. Oil on canvas. 143 x 113 cm. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia. Read Note.
Count Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov (1782-1856) - Russian statesman and talented military commander, son of Count Semyon Vorontsov. First distinguished himself in actions in the Caucasus in 1803-1804, and again during Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia in 1812. After the war, he was appointed Governor-General of Novorossiya (literally, “New Russia”, an area of land comprising parts of modern-day Ukraine, Southern Russia, and Moldova; so-called as it was, at the time, newly captured from the Ottoman Turks). His governorship was marked by good pace of economic development in the region.
In 1844, he was put in charge of the Russian troops in the Caucuses, where war had been raging more or less continuously since the turn of the 19th Century, and which would last until at least 1864, years after Vorontsov’s death. He was well-loved by his men, who, after his demise, would say “God is too high up, the Tsar is too far away, and Vorontsov died.” He relinquished command in 1853, due to poor health and died 3 years later in Odessa.