ALEXANDER I AND NAPOLEON PEACE BEFORE WAR, 16.05.2012
May 16 to September 16, 2012, the second floor halls of the Alexander Palace will house the exhibition Alexander I and Napoleon: Peace before War marking the 200th anniversary of the Russian Patriotic War of 1812, also known as the French invasion of Russia.
Tsarskoye Selo was one of the favourite residences of Emperor Alexander I, whose personal determination and integrity ensured that Russia and her people – of all social classes together – were victorious in the war against Napoleon. Alexander I commemorated the victory with a triumphal To-my-Dear-Comrades-in-Arms Gate built in the Catherine Park in 1817.
The exhibition Alexander I and Napoleon: Peace before War will show items from the Tsarskoye Selo collections related to the calm years in French-Russian relations between 1805 and 1809. Those will include portraits of Alexander I, Napoleon, Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna (a sister of Alexander I who was once proposed marriage by Napoleon), Alexander I’s uniform, and a set of duel pistols that was, as legend has it, Bonaparte’s gift to the Russian emperor made in Tilsit in 1807.
For the first time in 70 years on display will be Napoleon’s Army entering Munich on 24 October 1805 by François Dubois (1790–1871), a French painting that disappeared from Tsarskoye Selo during World War II. Returned in 1948, it was stored in the reserve collection of the museum as an unknown artist’s work until its recent successful restoration and attribution.
The painting was a copy of the original by Nicolas-Antoine Taunay (1755-1830). It came to Tsarskoye Selo in the early 1800s as a gift from the French emperor. The original graced a hall at the Palace of Versailles, the copy a hall at the Catherine Palace.
Exhibition will run May 16 through September 16, 2012, in the 2nd floor halls of the Alexander Palace, 10.00–18.00 (last entry 17.00) daily except Tuesdays and the last Wednesday of each month.