PHOTO: Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich,
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt and Rhine
On 30th October, a monument dedicated to the first meeting of Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (future Emperor Nicholas II) and his future bride Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt and Rhine (future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna) on Russian soil (1894) was unveiled and consecrated in the courtyard of the Central Library in the Crimean city of Alushta, .
Sculptors Irina Makarova and her husband Maxim Bataev, began work on the monument in February. Together, they created a composition consisting of four bronze sculptures. each a little over two meters high, a granite pedestal and an arch.
The funds for the monument were allocated by the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation and the Double-Headed Eagle Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education.
“Our composition was not easy. The arch unites two loving hearts – Nicholas and Alix, and is also crowned with an Orthodox cross,” said the sculptor Irina Makarova. – “In addition, there are other persons – Nicholas’ uncle Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, and his wife, the sister of the bride, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who helped unite the two loving hearts. They were all together in Alushta on that day in 1894.”
PHOTO: The consecration of the monument to Nicholas and Alexandra in Alushta
“We decided to portray Nicholas Alexandrovich in a Hussar uniform – it was in this outfit that he got married,” added Irina Makarova. “In her hands Elizabeth Feodorovna is depicted holding a small icon of the Saviour as the personification of spirituality. After all, she supported her sister when Alix doubted whether to change her faith The arch is also a symbol of Orthodoxy and Holy Russia.”
“My husband and I worked together on every detail,” – said Irina Makarova. – “We argued for a long time over the likeness of the future Emperor. We took the advice of Konstantin Valerievich, slightly changing the shape of the eyes and nose so that Nicholas II would become recognizable in his youth. After that we managed to achieve maximum realism.”
According to local residents, this monument will immortalize not only the meeting of two loving hearts, but also their loyalty for one another.
“I kiss and caress you endlessly, I want to show you all the power of my love for you,” wrote Alexandra Feodorovna to her husband. “Always yours to death and beyond …”
© Paul Gilbert. 30 October 2020