Painting Coronation of Nicholas II by Valentin Serov – a reliable depiction of a landmark event in Russian history
Coronation of Nicholas II is a painting by Valentin Alexandrovich Serov, painted in 1896, which captures the moment of the anointing of the emperor. The festively decorated Assumption Cathedral appears in the eyes of the viewer. Light falls from above through arched windows, highlighting the picturesque richness of reds and golds.
The semantic center of the composition is located on the left, it is there that the figures of the main protagonists of the ceremony are located – Metropolitan Palladium of St. Petersburg and Ladoga and Nicholas II. The emperor bowed his head to the priest while he conducts the rite of chrismation. Nicholas II’s eyes are closed, his face is serious and spiritual. He is dressed in a ceremonial ermine robe, which is supported by his retinue.
Slightly to the right and lower among the high ranks is the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in a luxurious outfit, with an intricate hairdo. Her shoulders are covered by the same ermine mantle as that of her husband. The Cathedral of the Dormition is filled with people whose gazes are fixed on the altar and the emperor. With clear strokes, rich colors, filigree drawing of details, Serov managed with photographic accuracy to convey the atmosphere of the history of the Russian Empire that was happening before his eyes.
Author: Valentin Alexandrovich Serov (1865-1911).
Year of writing: 1897
Size: 43 x 64 cm.
Location: State Tretyakov Gallery. Moscow.
Valentin Serov is a renowned Russian realist artist who worked at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries.
The emperor himself favored this famous painter. Serov painted portraits of members of the royal family more than once, striking the similarity of the drawing with the model. It is not surprising that it was he who received the order for a painting designed to capture the coronation of Nicholas II. The artist was even allowed to be present in the Assumption Cathedral almost in the first rows.
While at the scene, Valentin Serov filled out the coronation album with sketches, on the basis of which the work was then created. This approach allowed him to convey as accurately as possible all the details of the solemn moment of chrismation: not only the expressions on the faces of the emperor and his retinue, but also the smallest details of their ceremonial attire. And also pay attention to the interior of the cathedral.
With admirable skill, the author painted carvings on a wooden fence, heavy chandeliers, altar decorations. All this helped the painter to create the effect of presence, to allow the viewer to feel like a participant in the historical action. The painting “Coronation of Nicholas II” by Valentin Serov became a picturesque chronicle of the coronation of the last emperor of Russia.