Studio International

Published 02/08/2005

Glossing the Czar

The exhibition on the last Tsar Nicolas and Tsarina Alexandra at the Royal Museum of Scotland draws out but fails to expunge the aura of tragedy that hangs over their reign, terminated by the execution of an entire family. Nicolas was a devoted husband and father but a weak sovereign. This family, beset by haemophilia, Rasputin, and persistent subversion were even denied the rescue and sanctuary expected from their close cousins, the British Royal Family. This quiet family man, more akin to a placid country gentleman than a decisive ruler, died with his beloved wife and children in a provincial basement when they could easily have been smuggled out to safety. The paintings and objets d'art on display in this exclusive exhibition provide a revealing illustration of the contrast of wealth set against hedonism and the urge for simplicity in family life. The exhibition will be reviewed during September.