Google Arts & Culture, a sprawling online repository of artwork collections and personalities from art history, has unveiled a page for an 18th century portrait of a Georgian king on the International Museum Day.
The major platform launched the page of the 1761-made painting of King Teimuraz II (1700-1762), one of the last monarchs of Georgian kingdoms, for the May 18 global celebration.
Titled Return of the Royal Treasure, the exposition page is dedicated to both an artistic exploration of the work – created by painter Aleksey Antropov at the Imperial Court of Russia – and the recent story of its return to Georgia in 2018.
The page is the first of the kind for individual artwork in vaults of museums across the South Caucasus, with detailed insight available using techniques used by the Google platform for its exhibitions.
The portrait is notable for being one of only four paintings of Georgian monarchs created during their lifetime, and for the symbolic memory of the king who died while on a diplomatic mission to Russia, thus never returning to his homeland.
Considered lost for over 275 years, it was acquired by the Tbilisi-based Art Palace museum after its unveiling at the 1stdibs online marketplace in 2018. The painting was hailed as “the highest value exhibit” among works coming back to the country following its restoration of independence in 1991.
Empress Elizabeth of Russia commissioned Antropov to create the portrait as Teimuraz II was on his diplomatic trip to the Russian court and his kingdom was becoming a point of contention between major empires.
Biographical notes on the king, as well as technical descriptions of the portrait on the art platform were prepared in collaborative work between Google Arts & Culture and professionals from Art Palace.
The Georgian museum became the first venue in the country to be featured on the repository in 2016, with more collections from its vaults added to the platform later.