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Topic: Tsesarevich Alexei
Hidden for nearly a century, a previously unknown portrait of the Tsesarevich Alexei Nicholayevich, the son of Emperor Nicholas II was discovered in a house on Wednesday, not far from the Catherine Palace at Pushkin. The portrait was found by workers during the restoration of the facade of the 18th century Kabinetskaya (Cavaliers) House on Sadovoi Ulitsa.
The 86cm x 67cm oil painting of the Tsesarevich Alexei, dressed in a sailors shirt, was found hidden between the wall and the eaves of the house. The canvas was rolled up, wrapped in newspapers dating from 1917 and 1918, and pinned down with bricks. Experts at the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum Preserve believe that the owners of the house removed the portrait from its frame and hid it after the revolution of 1917.
The artist is unknown but believed to be painted from a photograph of the young heir to the throne during the 1913-1914 period. Experts will now attempt to identify the artist and learn more about the original owner of the house. It is known that the house was occupied by Gendarme Corps Colonel Boris Gerardi, who served as Head of the Palace Police from 1905-1917.
Iraida Bott, Deputy Scientific Director at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve told local media that the oil painting is dilapidated, with numerous creases and a torn-off fragment and in urgent need of restoration. Once this has been done, the portrait will then go on display at the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum, presumably in the Alexander Palace where the Tsesarevich spent much of his life. In the meantime, further investigation of the house will result in the discovery of other treasures from the Tsarist period.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 August, 2013