Painter Robert Konstantin Schwede's 200th anniversary is a good reason to present an overview of his creative career and to examine some of the problems that arise in this context. Artists with identical or similar surnames are often found in various sources of information; two painters usually appear under the name of 'Schwede' - Robert Konstantin Schwede (1806-1871) and his cousin Theodore (Fyodor Fyodorovich) Schwede (1819-?). Both are associated with the St. Petersburg Academy of Art where they obtained their artist's qualification. The same time span and links with the Academy have created a series of misunderstandings in encyclopaedic sources, publications and museum work with respect to the attribution of paintings. The situation becomes even more complicated because Theodore Schwede's brother Adelbert Schwede also took up painting. Considering the three above-mentioned artists, Robert Schwede has been most often associated with Latvia. As far as the author knows, of Robert Schwede's portraits only the 'Portrait of Maria Miln' is in Latvia (collection of the Latvian National Art Museum), but no sure facts are known about his landscapes. The majority of over 30 Robert Schwede's works are owned by the families of his progeny in Russia and Germany. These works are accessible to the author only in photographs, so any conclusions are fragmentary. Opinions on Robert Schwede start with Wilhelm Neumann's publications. Latvian art historian Janis Silins has described the artist more completely, as Karl Timoleon von Neff's contemporary and pupil but not his follower. Although Schwede adopted many techniques from Neff he did not follow him in the Raphael tradition.
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