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Saturday 10 January 2009

The Baketti painting of the Coronation of Nicholas II has always given me pause for thought. When it is shown on a larger scale, the light, streaming through the window, shines on someone who is clearly the Dowager Empress, Maria Feodorovna, rather than on the Empress Alexandra or even the Tsar. Alix seems to be sitting closer to Nicholas, in her rightful place but the light shines on the woman in the background.
If it is the Dowager Empress on whom the light is shining, what was the artist's message? Why did he paint it that way? Surely the light should have been shining on Nicholas and Alexandra, but it isn't. Was he harking back to another era...was it one more blow at the new Tsar and the new Tsarina. There is loads of detail in this painting - the woman at the back in black, for example. What was it about?

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