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Oil Sketch of Gustavus III of Sweden

Oil on board. A study of an 18th century portrait of Gustavus III of Sweden, wearing the sash of the Royal Order of Seraphim and in a landscape setting. Attributed to Adolf Pirsch (1858-1929). Framed.

Gustav III (1746-1792) was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was a vocal opponent of what he saw as the abuse of political privileges and seized power from the government in a coup in 1772. Considered a bulwark of enlightened despotism, Gustav spent considerable public funds on cultural and military ventures. An admirer of Voltaire, Gustavus offered military aid to Louis XVI of France after the Revolution. A patron of the arts and benefactor of arts and literature, Gustav was the first formally neutral head of state in the world to recognize the United States during its following its declaration of independence from Great Britain.


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