Rus Articles Journal

Who drew in Alexander III`s family?

Some time ago I was lucky to re-read the book Vorres`s Yen “The last grand duchess“ which is in fact memoirs of the daughter of the emperor Alexander III, Olga Aleksandrovna.

Probably, much know that she was an artist, but the fact that also other Romanov, most likely, for someone as until recently for me, will become surprise were fond of drawing.

Alexander II`s spouse, Maria Aleksandrovna who was the most directly involved in education of the children adored the fine arts and tried to impart to it love of the family.

The grand duke Alexander Aleksandrovich since young years was fond of painting, Nikolay Tikhobrazov was his first art teacher. After a marriage of Crown Prince Alexander and the Danish princess Dagmar who passed into Orthodoxy with a name Maria Fiodorovna to the yard Alexey Bogolyubov who gave joint lessons of painting to young spouses was invited (the artist Bogolyubov Nicholas I, Alexander II appreciated).

Interest in painting was that the little in what tastes of Crown Prince Alexander Aleksandrovich and Maria Fiodorovna coincided, it helped them to approach in the first years of marriage. However the tragic death of Alexander II was followed by accession to the throne of Alexander III, and employment by public affairs did not leave time for painting. But the emperor loved and appreciated works of art and was a keen collector (subsequently the most part of his collection was a part of a collection of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg).

The empress Maria Fiodorovna interesting painting since the childhood and, undoubtedly as well as her mother, the queen Danish Louise who had art talent of occupations did not leave. Alexey Bogolyubov spoke of its works with respect, noted taste and coloring of the empress. However the famous marine painter soon left court activity and was engaged in organization of the national museum in Saratov. In 1889 Maria Fiodorovna offered a role of the mentor to the academician of painting N. D. Losev, but their occupations were not long.

It was keen on painting all the life and the younger brother of Alexander III - the grand duke Sergey Aleksandrovich drew in young years. He was interested in the humanities, well knew history of painting and an iconography, antique history and archeology. Beydeman, Clodt and Neff gave it drawing lessons (the last even organized excursions of the grand duke on the Hermitage). Sergey Aleksandrovich was also fond of a collecting, and collected such objects of art as icons, an antique terracotta sculpture, pictures of peredvizhniki. Vasnetsov, Serov, Ayvazovsky, Nesterov became his favourite painters.

His spouse Elizabeth Fiodorovna, the nee princess Hesse - Darmshtadskaya, adored flowers, often she made bouquets and liked to sketch them. Interested her and modernist style, is known the self-portrait created by it, drawing - imitation Alfons Mucha. Envelopes with letters to younger sister Alix (to the princess Darmshtadskaya, and then - to the empress Aleksandra Fiodorovna), the grand duchess decorated with the drawings representing fantastic plots or household sketches. However its most known work it is possible to call young Aleksandra Fiodorovna`s portrait in which not only tender sisterly sentiment of Elizabeth Fiodorovna, but also her art talent were reflected.

Coming back to the emperor`s family, It is necessary to tell that lessons of drawing were received by Alexander III and Maria Fiodorovna`s all children. But especially imperial couple the younger daughter - Olga pleased with the interest in painting. In the early childhood it was admired by the album shown by the father, the emperor Alexander, narrating about life there is nobody the cities - Mopsopolya where there lived pugs. This album was drawn Alexander (then still the grand duke) and his elder brother Nikolay (at that time - the successor of a throne) during the Crimean war when they were still teenagers. In fact the album was satirical character - pugs hinted at opponents of Russia in war, British and French.

Since the childhood Olga Aleksandrovna did attempts to draw, the emperor recognized them successful, and for her the teacher of painting was invited. In different years Makovsky, Vinogradov, Zhukovsky were her teachers. As it appeared, drawing, the great princess acquired better material of the lessons which are given her therefore it was authorized to it to use a pencil in hours of geography and arithmetics.

Olga Aleksandrovna did not leave drawing neither in the years of the first unsuccessful marriage, nor in difficult years of revolutionary shocks and always recognized that the linen dress which puts on when it rises to an easel considers as the most elegant. In 1919 Olga Aleksandrovna with the second husband Pyotr Kulikovsky and two little sons left Russia. Since 1920 her family lived in Denmark, but in 1948 Kulikovskiye moved to Canada and lodged near Toronto.

Olga Aleksandrovna wrote more than two thousand water colors. For it drawing became not only hobby, but also a possibility of earnings. From sale of her pictures means on which Kulikovsky lived and had an opportunity to do charity work came to the family budget.