The portrait of the Empress was painted by the remarkable genre painter and portraitist Konstantin Makovsky. He is a graduate of the Moscow School of Painting and the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Previously, the portrait of Maria Feodorovna was in the art gallery of Sukachev and was paired. A couple of him was, of course, a portrait of the Emperor Alexander III. They were a beautiful couple: he was a tall, stately Russian man-the emperor, and she was a delicate, graceful woman-a Danish princess.
The story of their love is amazing and deserves respect. Initially, Maria was the bride of Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, the eldest son of Alexander II, who died in 1865. After his death, there was an attachment between Dagmar and Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich. A year after the death of Nix, Alexander decided to make an offer.
On the same day, he wrote to his father: “I was already going to talk to her several times, but still did not dare, although we were together several times. When we were looking at the photo album together, my thoughts were not on the pictures at all; I was only thinking how to proceed with my request. I finally made up my mind and didn’t even have time to say everything I wanted to say.
Maria threw her arms around my neck and began to cry. Of course, I couldn’t help but cry, either. I told her that our dear Nyx prays a lot for us and, of course, at this moment rejoices with us. The tears were running down my cheeks. I asked her if she could love anyone other than sweet Nix. She told me that there was no one but his brother, and again we hugged each other tightly.”
Portrait of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna by Alexander Makovsky
In the museum’s exposition there is only a portrait of Maria Feodorovna. It certainly attracts attention, as the Empress is written in an unusual way. On a dark monochrome background, we see her light and gentle appearance. The artist uses an interesting technique: he works out her face and jewelry well and clearly, and gives everything else schematically. The eyes are surprisingly made: deep, sensual, they look straight from the canvas with a piercing gaze.
The Empress outfit, insignia, and background are given with a few strokes of the brush. Completely different is the magnificent set of royal blue sapphire stones that adorns the delicate neck and shoulders of the empress. The exquisite Russian kokoshnik, evidence that she loved Russia very much, is also decorated with sapphires. And although the artist painted Maria Feodorovna so elegant and thin, in life she was a very strong woman. The Empress was the head of the Russian red cross society. She was the chief of the Cavalry and Cuirassier regiments, as well as the Guards crew. Maria Feodorovna together with her husband Alexander III created the funds of the Russian Museum.
Strong and gentle, delicate and courageous was this amazing woman, but the artist, enclosing the portrait in an oval, once again emphasizes her extraordinary femininity.
So, thanks to the skill of Konstantin Makovsky, thanks to the way he painted her, how he conveyed her eyes, which made us stop in front of the portrait, we had a great desire to get acquainted with the Romanov family. After reading the life story of the empress herself and returning to the portrait, we begin to look at this fragile, sweet woman with completely different eyes. It was as if we saw Maria Feodorovna anew, whose life had developed in such a way that she had to become the bride of two brothers, then give birth to a son, the last emperor of the Russian throne, and lose it all.
Standing in front of the portrait of the empress, you admire and enjoy the painting, you are surprised by the personality, you remember the history. Such unique works serve as a reminder of the great, of the eternal, of the beautiful…