Photo: Portrait drawing of Rasputin, signed and dated in 1914 by Elena Nikandrovna Klokacheva, colour pencils and pastel on grey card, 81.5 x 56 cm, State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
The history of fine arts has an interesting artist, Elena Nikandrovna Klokacheva, who is still remembered and taken seriously just for one of her many works. That is the drawing that you see above. It is one of the prized possessions of the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Klokacheva (also spelt as Klakachova and Klakacheva), was born on 25 November 1871 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. But historians are not sure about the date or year of her death excepting that it was ‘not before 1943’. This computation is based on the fact that Klokacheva had made charcoal portraits of some of the Spanish military physicians who were on assignment the Spanish Blue Division, participating in the Siege of Leningrad, had a field dressing station in Pavlovsk in 1942 and 1943. Their families still have two of the portraits in Spain.
And the value of this portrait of Rasputin by Elena Klokachёva may hit through the roof just because it is one of the few surviving portraits of Rasputin.
Perhaps no other historical figure from anywhere in the world have lived so long through various media as much as Grigori Rasputin since his death in 1916. Ever since then, till the present times, he has been appearing continuously as a popular character in dozens of films, books, TV productions, theater, comics, music and many more media.
Rasputin is reported to have prophetically said, “Without me everything will collapse”. And the outcome of the Bolshevik revolution proved he correctly predicted the future of Russia.
In yet another case, he is said to have predicted his own murder and warned in a letter written to the emperor Nicholas II that if the Russian nobles would do it, it would be the end of the monarchy. Just to prove he was right, following the February Revolution of 1917, the emperor and his family were imprisoned, and eventually executed by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16-17 July 1918.
A curious and interesting observation of life imitating art can be seen in the death of Bobby Farrell, the male member of the music band Boney M. One of the hit songs of the band is “Rasputin", loosely based on the life of the Russian mystic. Farrell had even dressed up as Rasputin in some of the stage performances of the song by Boney M. On 30 December 2010 Farrell died of heart failure in a hotel in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Reportedly, it occurred in the same city and on the same date in December as the death of Rasputin.