The identity of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Romanova deserves special attention. And not only because she is the daughter and sister of the Emperor of Russia. First of all because she was an amazing woman, who dedicated a considerable part of her adult life to the heroism of charity and mercy. The Lord gave her an artistic talent.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, the youngest daughter of Tsar Alexander III, the last sister of Tsar Nicholas II, was born in Peterhof 1 June 1882. Her artistic abilities began to show at the age of 4-5. Her father encouraged the fascination with the arts. The Emperor invited teachers to children: her first teacher was painter peredvizhnik Carl Lemokh, then she was taught by such wonderful artists as Vladimir Makovsky, KY Kryzhitsky, SA Vinogradov, S. Yu Zhukovsky.
Olga was a gifted artist, she had worked as a painter, watercolorist. Back in the 1900s, the Grand Duchess presented her paintings at art exhibition in the Gatchina Palace. Money raised from the sale of paintings, went to charity. In 1912 she founded the Society of assistance to the needy artists in memory of Academician KY Kryzhitsky.
In addition to painting and watercolors, as a deeply religious Orthodox woman, the Grand Duchess was fond of iconography. With the painted images she blessed her family, orphanages and military units, hospitals and schools.
Olga from an early age personally patronized and acted as a patron on a variety of charitable institutions and organizations. Basically she graciously supported orphanages, hospitals, hospice, female rates. She also provided great assistance to the poor talented artists. Many Russian people in distress, turned to her in person. She tried to help everyone in need.
During the First World War she served as an ordinary nurse. After the revolution, in 1920, Olga and her family moved to Denmark. Here she continued to paint and often organized exhibitions in Copenhagen, Paris, London and Berlin.
Her favorite technique was the watercolor. Water paint was convenient to take on the road, and in fact the Grand Duchess often had to move from one country to another. After the revolution, she lived in Denmark. But in 1948 she moved to Canada.
She found beauty in the mundane things: rural road, tea table, birthday cake – everything becomes in her hands a piece of art. Here she continued to draw a lot and successfully sold her paintings, which served as a source of livelihood of the family.
Olga Alexandrovna painted flowers that she loved – fresh fragrant irises, me-nots, roses, pansies, lilacs … Biographer of Grand Duchess Ian Vorres describes the first meeting with Olga: “On the floor there were lots of pots of flowers and plants, stacks of paper for drawing, dotted with brushes and tubes of paint. I soon learned that the painting and gardening – the main occupation of the Grand Duchess … ”
Canadian nature reminded Olga Alexandrovna about her favorite Russia. In a letter to a friend she wrote: “In the neighborhood I found my favorite spring flowers – blue anemones. What a joy it was – because I love them and I thought that would never see these flowers. I am so happy to wait for them to bloom, then in Canada I feel even more that I like at home … In my country, the forest was carpeted in spring with the same blue color … ”
Another piece, “There was a wonderful evening, all fragrant – in the woods smelled like in Russia – birch and flowering trees of all sorts … and we drove past the house and the garden, some friends saw them – and went out. Such a wonderful garden! Lilies of the valley, lilac and all smelled, and we went around the house … ”
Grand Duchess died on 24 November 1960 and was buried in the cemetery of North York Toronto in Canada next to her beloved husband Nikolai Kulikovsky, who died just two years before her.