Sunday, 31 July 2016

Alexander Hall in the Winter Palace

The Alexander Hall was conceived by Nicholas I when reconstructing the Winter Palace after the fire in 1837. It was designed by A. Bruillov and dedicated to Alexander I and the 1812 Napoleonic Campaign.
The large portrait of Alexander I in the Alexander Hall was painted by George Dawe.

Hau’s watercolor of the Alexander Hall 1861
In A. Polovtsov’s diary on Sunday, April 15th, 1884 he wrote “… When I asked  A. Adlerberg about the portrait, he said he remembers Dawe’s studio in the Winter Palace (c1820) and how Alexander I went there to sit for his portrait …”

Dawe’s Studio in the old Shepelevsky Palace (now New Hermitage)
Alexander I’s portrait was removed from the Alexander Hall after the revolution. I have a photo of the blank wall with the tall ladder used for the restoration work by the Art Commission in 1920.

During the 1920-30s, paintings and valuables were transferred between the palaces, historic rooms closed and various exhibitions installed.
The photo below of the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo in 1944 has a similar painting of Alexander I. Is it the original portrait from the Winter Palace’s Alexander Hall or a copy, since numerous portraits were replicated in Dawe’s studio by order of Nicholas I after Alexander’s death?

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