Christina of Sweden, who reigned from 1632 to 1654, was one of the greatest collectors of the 17th century. Emancipated and unconventional, she was known as the `Minerva of the North' for her intellectual interest in the sciences and arts. Her collections included those of the Emperor Rudolph II, seized following the sack of Prague in 1648, including important works by Pieter Breugel, Holbein and Durer. After her abdication in 1654 she settled in Rome, and in her Palazzo Riario she amassed an outstanding collection of pictures, including works by Rubens, Raphael and no less than twenty by or attributed to Titian and fourteen by Veronese. She had curiously little regard for contemporary artists except Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and her favourite painter was always Raphael. Her collections were soon dispersed after her death, the nucleus of the paintings being acquired by Philip II, Duke of Orléans.
This is one of several versions of this portrait type of the Queen. Others are at Gripsholm in Sweden (inv. no. 1853) and two more in private collections, for which see the exhibition catalogue Christina Queen of Sweden, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1966, cat. no. 546, reproduced plate 33.
Bears a torn label to the front: OELGE.(?); and a label on the reverse identifying the sitter.
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