Prince Mikhail Golenishchev-Kutuzov and Count Piotr Wittgenstein were military heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812. When Kutuzov died in 1812, Wittgenstein succeeded him as the head of the Russian Army.
A similar miniature, inset in a laquer box, was sold at Christie's, London, 18 December 1996, lot 253. Two similar independent portraits of Kutuzov and Wittgenstein, probably by the same hand, are illustrated in T. A. Selinova, Portrait Miniature in Russia, XVIII-XIX Centuries, from the Collection of the Historical Museum, Moscow, Leningrad, 1988, nos. 199 and 4, illustrated pp. 165 and 187, pl. 122 and 144.