His death in 1837 at the age of 38, was an extraordinary end for an extraordinary life lived. Fatally wounded in a duel over the woman he loved, Alexander Pushkin was a mixed race, Russian poet and the great-grandson of Abraham Hannibal, an African general and friend of Peter the Great.
As a child, Alexander Sergeyvich Pushkin displayed a talent for writing poetry. In 1818, he was appointed to Russia's ministry of foreign affairs. By day, he worked for the government; at night, he wrote poetry. Pushkin eventually became Russia's poet laureate. Political freedom was the subject of two of his most famous poems, Noel and Ode to Freedom, which critiqued the government. As a result, Pushkin was banished into exile, during which he continued to write and became the first Russian to earn a living as a poet.
In 1824, he received a pardon from Alexander the First on the condition that his future writings would not provoke political unrest. Thereafter, he wrote two novels, The Captive of the Caucasus and The Captain's Daughter. A continuous theme throughout his works was his obvious pride in his African heritage. He left unfinished a tribute novel, The Moor of Peter the Great, in honor of his grandfather.
About the artist
Michaela Gall studied at Chelsea School of Art and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. She works on paper and in ceramic. Her work is produced under the umbrella of Majolica, a form of ceramics originated in Renaissance Italy which uses tin-glazes painted over an opaque white background glaze, with an earthenware body. Michaela creates pieces that are painted within the tradition of Folk Art, documenting various subjects such as historical events, patterns, symbols and people from different cultures. Her celebrated Painted Portrait series explores various cultural figures throughout history from Queen Elizabeth I to Jimi Hendrix.