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Friday, 20 October 2017
Exhibition of Ivan Kramskoi's Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Maria Feodorovna, Empress

Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna by Ivan Kramskoi (1881)
From the Collection of the State Hermitage
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

From 14 October 2017, as part of the Hermitage Days, the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts will be presenting an exhibition of one masterpiece “Ivan Kramskoi. Portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna from the collection of the State Hermitage”.

Ivan Nikolayevich Kramskoi was a Russian painter and draughtsman, a master of genre, history and portrait painting whose work most fully reflects the main world outlook in the second half of the 19th century.

The latter half of the 1800s produced some very worthy exponents of the art of portraiture – Vasily Perov and Nikolai Nevrev, Konstantin Makovsky and Nikolai Gay, Ilya Repin and Nikolai Koshelev, but even against that background Kramskoi’s work in the genre stands out for his steadfast attention to his models and thorough analysis of their individuality.

In the early 1880s, Ivan Kramskoi was considered one of the foremost Russian portraitists. This status was confirmed when he was invited to paint the portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna at Alexandria (Peterhof) in the summer of 1881, soon after her husband’s succession.

Kramskoi based his work almost without alteration on a picture of Maria Feodorovna that had been taken in the studio of the photographer Sergei Levitsky. In doing so he was probably following the wishes of Emperor Alexander III who had commissioned the painting. The photographic portrait in a Russia-style formal dress was taken to show Maria Feodorovna in her new status and was intended to be distributed very widely. In December 1881 A. Felten and A. Beggrow’s shops selling prints produced a photogravure from Levitsky’s original.

The artist’s signature on the Hermitage portrait (I. Kramskoi / Alexandria / July 1881) includes an indication of where the painting was completed. That means that, despite the photographs he had at his disposal, the artist travelled to the imperial suburban residence for some sittings directly with the subject.

While working on one portrait, Kramskoi remained true to himself. Even in such an official painting he produced an enchanting image of the young Empress without a hint of flattery or idealization.

The artist probably saw the creation of a colourful symphony of gleaming precious stones as one of his chief tasks. The skill with which the Empress’s outfit and the shine of the diamonds were depicted is indicative of the great successes that Kramskoi had achieved in the realm of painting technique by the early 1880s, a time that is unjustly considered a moment of crisis in his creative biography.

In 1882 the Itinerants’ exhibition included three portraits of Empress Maria Feodorovna by Kramskoi, which were noted by the critics and repeatedly mentioned in reviews of the exhibition.

Right up until the revolution, Kramskoi’s portrait of Maria Feodorovna remained in the possession of the imperial family and was kept in the Anichkov Palace in St Petersburg. In 1918 the painting came into the Hermitage and for a long time it was unknown to specialists. In 2004, following serious restoration, it was displayed for the first time, in an exhibition at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

The project of the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, in the “exhibition of a single painting” format so popular at the moment, makes it possible to fully appreciate the artistic qualities of the Hermitage painting, one of the finest portraits in Kramskoi’s oeuvre.

The exhibition curator is Yury Yuryevich Gudymenko, leading researcher in the State Hermitage’s Department of the History of Russian Culture.

The exhibition runs from 14 October 2017 to 21 January 2018 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg.

© State Hermitage Museum. 20 October 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:15 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 20 October 2017 2:36 PM EDT
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Thursday, 29 September 2016
Russia Marks 10th Anniversary of Reburial of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna
Topic: Maria Feodorovna, Empress

Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928)
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On 28 September 2016, Russia marked the 10th anniversary of the reburial Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928) in St. Petersburg. 

A panikhida (memorial service) was performed by Archimandrite Alexander (Fedorov) at six o'clock in the evening at the tomb of the Empress in the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg (photo below).

In attendance were members of the Russian Imperial Union-Order (RUIO), the St. Petersburg Noble Assembly, and representatives of the Orthodox-monarchist community.

Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, was born Princess Maria Sofia Frederica Dagmar on 26 November 1847. She became the wife of Emperor Alexander III and mother of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas Alexandrovich. She died in exile at Hvidøre near Copenhagen on 13th October, 1928. Maria died at the age of 80, having outlived four of her six children.

On 19 October 1928, following services in Copenhagen's Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Church, the Empress was interred in the royal crypt at Roskilde Cathedral. 


On 26 September 2006 (above photo) in St. Petersburg, following a service at Saint Isaac's Cathedral, the remains of the Dowager Empress Maria Vladimirovna were interred next to those of her husband Emperor Alexander III, in the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The interment took place in the presence and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II (1928-2008), and the Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (far right). The current Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, can be seen on the far right. Her reburial took place 140 years after her first arrival in Russia and almost 78 years after her death. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 September, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:20 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 September 2016 9:08 AM EDT
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Thursday, 19 September 2013
Monument to Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna to be Unveiled in Denmark
Topic: Maria Feodorovna, Empress
A bronze bust of the Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna (Princess Dagmar of Denmark) will be unveiled in Frederiksberg, Denmark. The ceremony is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov, ITAR-TASS reports. Participants of the ceremony will include Russian Ambassador to Denmark Mikhail Vanin, Prince Joachim, the youngest son of Queen Margrethe and representatives of the mayor’s office of Frederiksberg.

The foundation of the bust is copied from the monument of Emperor Alexander III (husband of Maria Feodorovna), which was erected in Fredensborg Castle park in 1903. The bust of the Empress is created by sculptor Sergey Boguslavsky. The project has been spearheaded by the Cultural Society Dagmaria in Denmark.

The bust of Alexander III was erected in the park of Fredensborg Castle in 1903, nine years after the Emperor’s death, by the initiative of the neighbors of the Imperial villa, Kajservaj 1, Fredensborg. These people respected the Russian Emperor for his personal qualities and thus wished to honor his memory. 
© ITAR-TASS. 19 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:20 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 19 September 2013 10:24 AM EDT
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Saturday, 31 March 2012
Bust of Empress Maria Feodorovna in Copenhagen
Topic: Maria Feodorovna, Empress


Visitors to Copenhagen can view a bust dedicated to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna at the Alexander Nevsky Church. The bust is a copy of the one made by the Russian sculptor Mark Antokolski in 1887 at St. Petersburg.

The Dowager Empress Maria died in Denmark on October 13, 1928, her funeral was held at the Alexander Nevsky Church, the city's only Russian Orthodox Church.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 31 March, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:35 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2012 7:39 AM EDT
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