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Dutch Still Life with Prince Nicholai

"Dutch Still Life with Prince Nicholai" is copyright    1998 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 9.5 x 8 inches, 1998
Collection of Ron Naples

The wee Prince Nicholai was supposed to have been the smallest man who ever lived. Often called "The Little Russian Prince", he was reported to have measured only eighteen inches tall and weighed in at fifteen pounds.

I first discovered the petite fellow in a photograph from 1871 in which the prince is posed atop a table, beside which stands a man of normal height. Something about Nicholai's stature and the lightbulb quality of his head (perhaps a sign of progeria, the disease which causes premature aging) enchanted me, so I sat down to work out a fitting composition. A gentleman only a foot and a half tall could be easily misplaced in such a lavish table setting, yet Nicholai's regal manner and splendid attire guarantee that he will not be overlooked.

One of the Little Russian Prince's pitchcards may be seen here.

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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010