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Thursday, 12 June 2014
Emperor Alexander III Exhibit Opens in Helsinki
Topic: Alexander III


Emperor Alexander III and the Imperial Fishing Lodge at Langinkoski, Finland
 
Emperor Alexander III of Russia and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays
6 June - 14 September 2014

The exhibition showcases the life and leisure of the Russian Imperial family through paintings, watercolours and period items. The exhibition includes portraits of the Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria painted by Ivan Kramskoi. 

Emperor Alexander III ruled Russia and served as the Grand Duke of Finland from 1881 to 1894. His Danish-born spouse Dagmar was also known as Maria Fjodorovna.

The exhibition is complemented by numerous period objects, such as glass and silver Fabergé items and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg.

Emperor Alexander III made a total of 31 trips to Finland, occasionally accompanied by artist Albert Benois, who painted the landscapes of these trips in watercolours. The exhibition also includes a few paintings of the landscapes of south-eastern Finland. A wholly different perspective is revealed by pieces that depict the Emperor's official life in St. Petersburg and his coronation in Moscow.

The exhibition includes parts of the Emperor Alexander's and Empress Maria's personal washing set and a lavishly embroided screen given to the Empress as a gift in 1885, designed by artists Albert Edelfelt and Gunnar Berndtson and embroided by Sophie Snellman. The large screen was found in a shop in Moscow in 1930's and bought to the State of Finland.

The exhibition also includes a publication, which is available in Finnish, Russian and English from the Museum Shop.

The exhibition is a co-operation between The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Kymenlaakso in Kotka and the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.

The exhibition is on display at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki from 6 June 2014 to 14 September 2014 in exhibition rooms 131  and 132 on the museum's 1st floor. 
 
 

Emperor Alexander III is the subject of a new biography by Romanov historian, Margarita Nelipa. Her comprehensive study was researched from primarily Russian sources, revealing new details about this little known and unjustly neglected sovereign who ruled Russia for only 13 years, from 1881-1894. For more information, please refer to the following link:

Alexander III: His Life and Reign by Margarita Nelipa 

 
© National Museum of Helsinki. 12 June, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:23 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 12 June 2014 6:29 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Troubetzkoy's Controversial Monument to Emperor Alexander III
Topic: Alexander III


Troubetzkoy’s controversial monument depicting a larger-than-life Alexander III now sits in the courtyard of the Marble Palace, St. Petersburg
 
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 11th, 2014 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. The author Gus Peters owns the copyright presented below.

One of St. Petersburg’s most famous and controversial monuments, which graced Ploschad Vosstanya for nearly 30 years before finally being taken away, has been called a brute, a scarecrow and a hippopotamus. The only thing it seems to not have been called is “inaccurate.”

The monument is to Alexander III, the second-to-last Romanov to rule over the Russian empire who reigned after the assassination of his father, Alexander II, in 1881 until his death in 1894. He ruled the world’s largest empire with an iron fist and, unlike his father, whose reforms drastically changed Russian society, Alexander III focused on “Russification,” an idea based in his own belief that his father’s liberal ideas had weakened Russia.

Despite pleas from some of society’s most famous intellectuals, including Leo Tolstoy, who implored him “to meet his enemies on the field of ideas,” Alexander III’s ideology was akin to Konstantin Pobedonostsev’s. Pobedonostsev, the Procurator of the Russian Orthodox Church during Alexander III’s reign, was both against parliamentary government and intensely anti-Semitic, and he openly stated that any opposition to the Romanov dynasty should be ruthlessly crushed, an idea the emperor embraced with gusto.

In 1901, Paolo Troubetzkoy, an Italian sculptor born in Italy to a Russian nobleman and an American mother, was commissioned to build a statue of the late leader. Eight years later, on May 23, 1909, the final product was unveiled in the centre of Ploschad Vosstanya.

The final statue, which can still be seen outside the Marble Palace in the same spot where a pedestal of Lenin once stood, is unflattering. Alexander III is bearded and heavyset, sitting atop a fat horse that appears to be straining under the weight of its rider. It was reported that Troubetzkoy described the monument as “a beast on top of another beast,” and that the bowed head of the horse symbolized the ruthless and crushing authority Alexander III wielded during his reign.

Needless to say, the political implications of having such a statue in such a prominent place became the subject of much discussion. Some were indignant that such an uncomplimentary caricature of the leader would even exist while others praised the artist’s interpretation of the legacy of the tsar. The debate became so intense that the Duma considered destroying the statue all together. Troubetzkoy, when asked about the controversy, replied, “I do not engage in politics. I simply portrayed one animal on another.”

In 1937, the statue was removed from its position in the centre of Ploschad Vosstanya and hidden away in an interior courtyard of the Russian museum. The stated reason for the relocation was that the statue had been obstructing the flow of tram traffic during its nearly 30 years in the same spot.

The obelisk built in honour of the city’s survival during World War II now dominates Ploschad Vosstanya. But less than 80 years ago, the square was home to a monument that may have been the most accurate portrayal of authoritarian power ever allowed to exist in the city.
 

Emperor Alexander III is the subject of a new biography by Romanov historian, Margarita Nelipa. Her comprehensive study was researched from primarily Russian sources, revealing new details about this little known and unjustly neglected sovereign who ruled Russia for only 13 years, from 1881-1894. For more information, please refer to the following link:

Alexander III: His Life and Reign by Margarita Nelipa 

© Gus Peters / St. Petersburg Times. 11 June, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:25 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 5:33 AM EDT
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Monday, 5 May 2014
Proposal to Erect Monument to Emperor Alexander III in the Crimea
Topic: Alexander III

A pre-revolutinary photograph of the monument to Emperor Alexander III at Feodosia, Crimea
 
A proposal has been made to erect a monument to Emperor Alexander III in the Crimean city of Feodosia. The proposal was made by Alexander Oleshuk, a member of the Committee on Culture at a meeting held last month of the Public Council.

The original monument was unveiled in November 1896. It was constructed by Odessa sculptor, R.R. Bach out of bronze, mounted on a pedestal of granite and black labradorite. It was the first monument to the Emperor Alexander III to be erected in the Russian Empire.

After the February Revolution of 1917, the monument was removed from the podium. Andrei Sedih , a local journalist and native of Feodosia, took part in the destruction of the monument led by Revolutionary sailors, and described these events in his memoirs:

"In our remote provincial town the revolution passed quite idyllically: just disarmed the policemen and then removed the statue of Alexander III. It was great fun - we wrapped ropes around the statue and pulled it down."
 
The fate of the bronze monument is unknown, however, most historians believe that it was melted down.

In 1956, a monument to Joseph Stalin was erected on the pedestal. Stalin was dismantled in 1980, and replaced with that of Soviet war hero Ivan Nazukin, which remains to the present.

According to Oleshuk, the recent return of the Crimea to the Russian Federation is a historic opportunity to regain some of former tsarist-era street names and correct the mistakes of the Soviet era. "We have a street that bears the name of the chief of the concentration camps. We propose that other streets in the city be changed back to their pre-Revolutionary names at the same time", - says Alexander Oleshuk.

He also stated that the Commission proposes to return the monument to Emperor Alexander III, the site of which is now a monument to the Soviet war hero Ivan Nazukin. "The tsar really did a lot for Feodosia! The monument to Nazukin should be relocated, "- said Alexander Oleshuk.

The proposal of the monument of Alexander III has received wide support from local residents. In addition to the monument to the Emperor, Oleshuk proposed other monuments to Anton Ivanovich Denikin (1872-1947), Alexander Vasilevich Kolchak (1874-1920) and Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel (1878-1928). 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 May, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:36 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 May 2014 10:57 AM EDT
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Friday, 14 March 2014
Estonia to Restore Monument to Emperor Alexander III
Topic: Alexander III

A committee has been established in the Estonian capital of Tallinn to oversee the restoration of monument to Emperor Alexander III in Pullapää, (located on the western coast of Estonia).

The Committee is composed of well-known experts and public figures, including: Yuri Maltsev (Chairman of the Society for Protection of Monuments of Russian History and Culture in Estonia), Alexander Dormidontov (owner of a private Russian archives) Alexander Yuriev (art restorer), Yuri Kanyshev (Chairman NGO "Embassy village") Alexander Kotov (board member of cultural, educational and sports society "Hero") and Renat Sepp - as a private person.
 

Tsesarevich Alexander (the future Tsar Alexander III) visited the area in 1880, when he and his family spent the summer here. After his untimely death in 1894, the locals decided to erect a memorial monument.

The simple memorial was built in the Byzantine style, complete with marble pillars and crowned with three gold onion domes. The monument was enclosed by a metal fence, small benches were placed within and outside for visitors to rest.

The memorial was badly damaged in 1917, and over the last century has been left to ruin. The Committee to restore the memorial is now in the process of organizing the financing of the restoration, which they believe will come from a combination of private and corporate donors. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 March, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:32 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 March 2014 5:53 AM EDT
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Friday, 28 February 2014
Alexander III Exhibition Opens in Finland
Topic: Alexander III


The Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays exhibition catalogue is available in Finnish, Russian and English
 
A new exhibition, Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays, opened on February 2nd at the Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka, Finland.

Alexander III ruled Russia and served as the Grand Prince of Finland from 1881 to 1894. The Finns built a fishing lodge for the emperor in Langinkoski, Kotka (1889), to where Alexander III and his family retired for a few days in the summer, to lead a modest country life. The emperor spent his days fishing and chopping wood while his Danish-born spouse Dagmar, also known as Marie Feodorovna, made food for the family. The freedom the emperor enjoyed in Langinkoski in the summers was in stark contrast to the highly regulated life and court etiquette that he had to endure in St Petersburg.

The Alexander III and Finland exhibition showcases the life and leisure of the imperial family through paintings, watercolours and period items. Alexander III made a total of 31 trips to Finland, occasionally accompanied by Albert Benois, who immortalised the landscapes of these trips in his watercolours. The exhibition also includes a few paintings that depict the landscapes of south-eastern Finland. A wholly different perspective is revealed by pieces that depict the emperor’s official life in St Petersburg and his coronation in Moscow.

The exhibition includes portraits of the emperor and empress painted by Ivan Kramskoi and Carl Wenig’s oil painting Russian Girl. The exhibition is complemented by numerous period objects, such as glass and silver Fabergé items and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory, including a plate that belonged to a set used on the emperor’s yacht Tsarevna. Some of the items from the collections of the State Russian Museum will be displayed in Finland for the first time.

From the National Museum of Finland, the exhibition includes parts of the emperor and empress’ personal washing set and a screen given to the empress as a gift, designed by Albert Edelfelt and Gunnar Berndtson.

The exhibition is further complemented by items on loan from the Imperial Fishing Lodge in Langinkoski, which celebrates its 125th anniversary. The items will be displayed in the Museum of Kymenlaakso’s main exhibition from 14 February to 30 September 2014. Visitors can look forward to seeing, for example, authentic silverware used at the fishing lodge, a waffle iron adorned by the two-headed eagle of Russia and a pair of sturgeon-patterned silver fish server.

The Alexander III and Finland exhibition also includes a publication with the same title, which will be available in Finnish, Russian and English from the Vellamo museum shop.
 
To watch a video (in Russian) of the Alexander III and Finland exhbition, please click on the link below;
 

Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays - Video 

 

 

© Maritime Centre Vellamo. 28 February, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:45 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 28 February 2014 7:16 AM EST
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Thursday, 6 February 2014
Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays
Topic: Alexander III

 
A new exhibition dedicated to Emperor Alexander III will open next week in Finland. Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays will open February 14th and run till May 18th, 2014 at the Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka, Finland. 

The exhibition is a joint venture with the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Kymenlaakso and the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.

Alexander III ruled Russia and served as the Grand Prince (Duke) of Finland from 1881 to 1894. The Finns built a fishing lodge for the emperor in Langinkoski, Kotka (1889), to where Alexander III and his family retired for a few days in the summer, to lead a modest country life. The emperor spent his days fishing and chopping wood while his Danish-born spouse Dagmar, also known as Marie Feodorovna, made food for the family. The freedom the emperor enjoyed in Langinkoski in the summers was in stark contrast to the highly regulated life and court etiquette that he had to endure in St Petersburg.

The Alexander III and Finland exhibition showcases the life and leisure of the imperial family through paintings, watercolours and period items. Alexander III made a total of 31 trips to Finland, occasionally accompanied by Albert Benois, who immortalised the landscapes of these trips in his watercolours. The exhibition also includes a few paintings that depict the landscapes of south-eastern Finland. A wholly different perspective is revealed by pieces that depict the emperor’s official life in St Petersburg and his coronation in Moscow.

The exhibition includes portraits of the emperor and empress painted by Ivan Kramskoi and Carl Wenig’s oil painting Russian Girl. The exhibition is complemented by numerous period objects, such as glass and silver Fabergé items and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory, including a plate that belonged to a set used on the emperor’s yacht Tsarevna. Some of the items from the collections of the State Russian Museum will be displayed in Finland for the first time.

From the National Museum of Finland, the exhibition includes parts of the emperor and empress’ personal washing set and a screen given to the empress as a gift, designed by Albert Edelfelt and Gunnar Berndtson.

The exhibition is further complemented by items on loan from the Imperial Fishing Lodge in Langinkoski, which celebrates its 125th anniversary. The items will be displayed in the Museum of Kymenlaakso’s main exhibition from 14 February to 30 September 2014. Visitors can look forward to seeing, for example, authentic silverware used at the fishing lodge, a waffle iron adorned by the two-headed eagle of Russia and a pair of sturgeon-patterned silver fish server.

The Alexander III and Finland exhibition also includes a publication with the same title, which will be available in Finnish, Russian and English from the Vellamo museum shop. 
 
© Maritime Centre Vellamo / Royal Russia. 06 February, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:14 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 6 February 2014 5:18 AM EST
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Friday, 17 January 2014
Rare Cameo Portrait of Tsar Alexander III as a Young Man Found in New Zealand
Topic: Alexander III


The following press release has been made Exclusive to Royal Russia. Any one having any additional information on this beautiful cameo is kindly asked to contact Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia [E-mail: royalrussia@yahoo.com], who in turn will forward details to the owner who has asked to remain anonymous in this release.
 
A rare Second French Empire cameo portrait of Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov, aged about 19, has been discovered in New Zealand.

The cameo portrait was carved by Paul-Victor Lebas, a prominent French cameo sculptor working in Paris circa 1851-1876.

The cameo, set in its period 18k gold mount, and fitted as a brooch and pendant, passed through a local Auckland, New Zealand auction house in late 2013. The artist and subject went unrecognised, until a keen-eyed collector saw it in the window of the antique dealer who bought it at the auction.

That collector, and now proud owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, takes up the story, "I quickly realised the cameo was something very special. When I examined it closely I was astonished to see it was signed by Paul-Victor Lebas. The signature however had been missed by both the auction house and the dealer who acquired it.

Of course I bought it, and after long hours of research, was able to identify the subject as Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov, who subsequently became Tsar Alexander III.

This cameo portrait of Tsar Alexander III as a young man at 19 years of age should be of great interest to those who study and appreciate the Russian Monarchy and the Romanov Dynasty. It provides a unique left side profile of Alexander, just before he became the Tsesarevich (heir apparent) and married his deceased brother's fiancé, Princess Dagmar of Denmark (Maria Feodorovna).

Unfortunately all provenance prior to the recent auction is lost, and I'd be fascinated to know if any readers of 'Royal Russia' can place the cameo as an Imperial possession from archives, portraits or photographs".

More information on the cameo, artist and subject can be seen on:

A Hardstone Cameo Portrait of the future Tsar Alexander III, carved circa 1867

 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 January, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:44 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 17 January 2014 5:00 AM EST
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Friday, 1 November 2013
Monument to Alexander III Recalls 1888 Borki Train Disaster
Topic: Alexander III

A new monument to Emperor Alexander III was unveiled on October 30th in the Kharkov region of the Ukraine. The bronze bust marks the 125th anniversary of the train crash at Borki in 1888, in which the emperor and his family were travelling.
 
The Imperial family were returning from the Crimea to Moscow onboard the Imperial train on October 29 (O.S. October 17), 1888, when it derailed killing 22 people and injuring 68, all members of the Imperial family miraculously survived.

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was built at Borki in 1891-1894 to commemorate the event at the crash site, and in 1909 a bronze bust of Alexander III was erected. The bronze bust was destroyed after the Revolution, the church was badly damaged during the World War II after the gold dome was shelled, and eventually blown up at the end of the war.
 

"The new monument was made in Russia and is a gift from the Revival of Cultural Heritage Fund in Moscow," - said Sergey Moiseev. "As our organization Triune Russia could not deliver their own monument to the Ukraine, we enlisted the help of the president of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Russian Railways to ensure the delivery of the monument to the Ukraine. The new monument is a replica of the monument destroyed after the Revolution. This year we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, so it is a good opportunity to draw attention of our fellow citizens, the general public and to this little-known tragedy in the history of Russia and the Imperial family. "

A liturgy was held followed by the consecration of the new monument by Archbishop Izyumsky of Kupyanskaya and Elisha. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Don and Terek Cossacks, who at one time formed part of the personal guards of the Imperial family.

Moiseev also noted that in addition to restoring the monument to Alexander III,  Triune Russia are working on plans of a reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour near the site of the imperial train wreck. There is currently a small memorial chapel on the site of the destroyed church, constructed in 2003.

The Borki train disaster is widely discussed by author and historian, Margarita Nelipa, in her forthcoming book, Alexander III: His Life and Reign, to be published later this month by Royal Russia. She notes in her introduction: "Alexander III’s train accident near Borki village in 1888 is one incident that has received extensive exposure in history books, however, few would be aware that there was a subsequent investigation, which led to an unforeseen outcome, which Alexander III capably resolved using his autocratic power. Both these events are tied together for the first time in English in Chapter XIII using letters, eyewitness accounts and notes that were provided by the brilliant chief procurator of the day, Anatoli Koni." 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 November, 2013
 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:49 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 1 November 2013 1:37 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013
The Family of Alexander III at Gatchina Exhibition to Open Temporarily at Gatchina
Topic: Alexander III


The Gatchina State Museum have announced that they will open the exhibition The Family of Alexander III at Gatchina for a short period in November. Originally opened in 2007, the exhibition has been closed for months due to the restoration work on the marble staircase leading to the former private apartments of Emperor Alexander III and his family.

From 1 to November 17, during the Children's Days in St. Petersburg Festival, visitors will have the unique opportunity to visit the private rooms of the Imperial family.
 
The following photographs show some views of the former private apartments of Alexander III and his family at Gatchina: 
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

For more information and photos on this exhibition, please refer to the following article on our blog; 

Private Apartments of Alexander III at Gatchina

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 October, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 October 2013 8:54 AM EDT
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Monday, 26 August 2013
New Monument to Emperor Alexander III at Nizhny Novgorod
Topic: Alexander III
A new monument to the Emperor Alexander III was unveiled on August 23rd at the Annunciation Monastery in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. The monument was sanctified by the Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas.

"Today we are witnessing a very important event - the unveiling of a monument which honours a significant figure in Russian history. In 1866, Alexander III, while still Tsesarevich, visited our monastery and prayed in this holy place, - he said, - discovering these sites, we restore a historical memory. We are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. This dynasty has made the Russian Empire a great and prosperous nation. "

"Peace Tsar" is inscribed on one side of the pedestal. During the years of his reign, Russia was not engaged in any military conflict, actively developed industry and agriculture, and reached an unprecedented flowering of Russian culture and art. Alexander III has been hailed as a true Orthodox tsar. During his reign, many new churches and monasteries were built in Russia.

The monument to Emperor Alexander III is the second dedicated to a Russian sovereign, established in Nizhny Novgorod in the nationwide project "Avenue of the Russian Glory", which was intended to revive the patriotic spirit of the Russian people and to perpetuate the memory of our great ancestors and compatriots. The artist of the bronze bust on a marble pedestal is the Russian sculptor Alexander Apollo.

A monument to Emperor Alexander II was erected in the Ascension Caves Monastery. There are plans to erect a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II at the Nizhny Novgorod Women's Cross Monastery in the near future.

In addition, according to Anatoly Migunov, the Minister of Regional and Municipal Policies of the Nizhny Novgorod region, plans are underway for the publication of a new book The Romanovs in Nizhny Novgorod and the Nizhny Novgorod Region, which will feature the collected letters, diaries, memoirs of contemporaries of the Emperor Alexander III, and members of the House of Romanov. "This monument will testify about the historical roots of the glorious spiritual heritage of Russia and will be one of the worthy symbol of the Nizhny Novgorod region", - said Anatoly Migunov.
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 August, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:55 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 August 2013 11:29 AM EDT
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