Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A New Look at the Last Tsar

From The Moscow Times:
Last year, the 100th anniversary of the execution of the last members of the Romanov dynasty passed in Russia without much official attention. The exception was in Yekaterinburg, where the family was killed and where thousands of pilgrims gathered to mark the day of their murder. But in Moscow the State Historical Museum has been running an exhibition that provides, in a rather low-key way, a look back at the last tsar, his family and his rule. It is to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II.

The exhibition presents over 750 photographs of the tsar and family, paintings, objects and memorabilia, and some commentary from people who knew the tsar and his family. Many of the exhibits are rarely shown or have never been shown before. Alexei Levykin, director of the museum, told The Moscow Times that, "We are showing the viewers historical primary sources, which are the most objective reflection of what happened. We are not trying to impose any points of view. We are just giving visitors a chance to see images of the emperor and the era."

The exposition starts with photographs taken in the period from 1870 until the mid-1910s.  Hundreds of photographs depict Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna, and the children. Most of the photographs were taken in the palaces in Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof, the former imperial residences of Russian tsars outside St. Petersburg. Some of the pictures were taken in the private apartments of the tsar’s family.

On the walls of the gallery are quotes by friends of the royal family, such as this memory of Alexei, the tsarevich, from the children’s French tutor Pierre Gilliard: “Alexei Nikolayevich was the center of the closely-knit family. All affections and hopes were focused on him. The sisters adored him, and he was the joy of his parents. When he was well, the whole palace seemed transfigured; it was a ray of sun illuminating everything and everyone around.” (Read more.)

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