Last week’s Illustration Friday’s topic was “book.” I love books and I’ve had this young Catherine the Great picture I’ve really wanted to have an excuse to make. I thought getting it done would be no problem. I was wrong. Other stuff crowded it out, and this is as far as I got. Boooo.
From what I read, she had thick rich brown hair, fair skin, long features, and piercing eyes. I did get her head finished.
Here’s a contemporary portrait.
I’ve wanted to make this image since I read Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie. I loved that Catherine was a self taught student of the enlightenment. In her late teens Catherine was politically isolated, neglected, manipulated, trapped in an abusive marriage, and miserable. To escape she turned to reading, first light romance novels but her tastes and ability led her to the philosophers of her time. She struck up a correspondence and friendship with Voltaire and eventually became a great patron of the movement. The biography was a great read. It did make me want to drink coffee. Catherine drank a lot of coffee to help her keep a grueling schedule.