Pushkin and Hannibal:
Hannibal and Suvoroff
From Illustrated Naval and Military Magazine, Volume 8 (1888)
On the left is a sketch of Hannibal made long after his death, showing the veteran the mentoring Alexander Suvorov (1730-1800), the son of a neighbor, who would follow in Hannibal's footsteps towards an accomplished military career.
A Note on Some Portraits of Abraham Hannibal
Private Collection of Bernard May (in Paris)
by Karel van III Mander
(Source: National Gallery of Denmark)
Hanibal saw the painting and requested to have a similar one done in his own image. That is the story.
This is a crime, moreover, worthy of ridicule, - the highest orders of the state and their gentlemen were all known.
Meller was in the army of the south for more than three years. Field life off the Black Sea, under the southern sun, reflected on the general's appearance: a tan covered his face.
It is known that the asphalt used in painting at the end of the 18th century, soon led to a darkening total color of the portrait. As you can see, the first embarrassing circumstance in the definition portrayed can be eliminated: dark complexion.
Look at faces of fellow tribesmen of Hannibal.
'This...image...is, until now, the only image of that the famous Blackamoor from whom Pushkin descended.'
Although the page could be an allusion to Abraham Hannibal (also known as Abram or Ibrahim Gannibal) it cannot be a portrait of him, as in 1720 [when the painting was made] Hannibal was twenty four years old.
Engraving by Nicolas de Larmessen, after a painting by Pierre Denis Marten the Younger
Tsarskoye Selo State Museum
The Life of Pushkin
His great-grandson knew about it and in the post-Pushkin years there was no doubt that the poet's great-grandfather was Black or almost Black.
How were they described?
Lev (Leo) Sergeyevich Pushkin (1805-1852), brother of Aleksandr Pushkin
After a watercolor portrait painted in 1849 in Odessa
Scanned from the Historical Gazette, Volume 31 (1888)
(Source: Wikipedia Commons)
His appearance was a Black man, painted white.
Unlike Browning or Dumas, Pushkin took his Negro ancestry very seriously.
In him was manifested all the ardor and sensuality of his African blood.
My great-grandfather Hanibal, godson and pupil of Peter the Great, was a Negro, the son of a sovereign prince!
You say: for a bottle of rum!
You're more expensive, sitting at home,
Selling your pen.
This Bulgarin gentleman treats me as a helot,
and declares that my grandsire Hannibal
was bought for a half glass of rum
by a ship pilot on the banks of the river Senegal.
‘Tis true: but let him add to this bad joke of his,
That purchaser was God’s own pilot from the skies,
Who, guiding the great bark of Russia’s destinies,
its prow in America and its stern in Asia,
joined the fiery seas with the frozen one.
The skipper was that famous skipper
Who moved our land,
Who powerfully set a stately
Course with the rudder of our native ship.
The Blackamoor, so cheaply purchased, grew up diligent, unpurchasable, a confidant to the tsar; Black, but never again a slave.
What is he in his venerable family?
One day in Saint Petersburg, a French woman slips perfidiously at him: By the way, Mr. Pushkin, do you have Negro blood in your veins? - Certainly, replies the poet. - Was it your ancestor who was Negro? - No, that was no longer. - So it was your great grandfather? - Yes, it was my great grandfather. - So he was a Negro ... but then, who was his father? - A monkey, madam!
We believe nothing of the sort. Perhaps these families sought to gild their refined gold with Pushkine's literary metal, but in his lifetime nobody thought of that — or them.
It is permissible to judge the Greek question like that of my Negro brethren, desiring for both deliverance from an intolerable slavery.
I am sending you your ancestor with inkwells that open and that reveal him to be a farsighted person.
(Credit: Runoko Rashidi/Atlanta Blackstar)
Scientific Researcher, Independent Historian, and Co-Founder of Black Research Central
Kamyshlovsky Museum of Local Lore - Pushkin's Creative Biography
The Root - Was the Father of Russian Lit a Brother?
The Root - Did Peter the Great Have a Black Son?
Black Past - Abram Petrovich Hannibal (1696?-1781)
The British Library - Black Europeans: Alexander Sergevich Pushkin (1799-1837)
Atlanta Blackstar - Great Black Russians: Ibrahim Petrovich Hannibal and Alexandre Sergeivich Pushkin
CadyTech - The Poet Poushkin
Гатчина сквозь столетия (The historical journal Gatchina Through the Centuries) - The Mystery of the Old Portrait, Once again about the so-called “French portrait of A.P. Hannibal” [SOURCE + INFO ADDED 4/23/20]
Dumas-Pouchkine Center (CDPDCA) blog - Press Release: Tribute to Hanibal, the ancestor of Pushkin
Dieudonné Gnammankou - The Cameroonian origins of General Hannibal of Russia (VIDEO in French)
My Stories From The Past (blog by Nicolas van Outryve d'Ydewalle) - A Negro at the Court of Peter the Great, Abraham Pétrovitch Hanibal, African grandfather of the poet Alexandre Pouchkine, l'Eventail (February 2012): From Alexander Sergeevich to Alexander Alexandrovich, from one Pushkin to another
Museums of Russia - "Here is Navarino's Hannibal"
Universal Library of Vadim Ershov and Co. - Alexandra Osipovna Smirnova-Rosset
Race and History - Alexander Pushkin: Russian-African genius
Russia Info Centre - Romanticism and 19th Century Literature
Little Histories - April 29, 1815 - the first publication of the 16-year-old Alexander Pushkin
Tretyakov Gallery Magazine (2019), Volume 65, Issue #4 - Pushkin in Portrait
Learn Russian in the European Union - Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin – 220th Anniversary of the Poet
Black Research Central
When Negritude Meets Pettitude.