Rare portrait of Nicholas II on display at Bavaria exhibit

Portrait of Tsarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (1889), the future Emperor Nicholas II, by the artist Baron Ernst Friedrich von Liphart (1847-1932), Russified as Ernst Karlovich Lipgart. Lipgart painted at least six portraits of Russia’s last monarch, including several ceremonial portraits.

This magnificent portrait is currently on display in the Twilight of the Gods II – Last Monarchs in the House of History of Bavaria exhibition, at the Museum of the House of Bavarian History in Regensburg, Bavaria until 16th January 2022.

The Emperor is depicted in the uniform of the Prussian 8th Hussar Regiment, of which he was appointed an Honourary Chief in 1889, his cape is decorated with the Royal Prussian Order of the Black Eagle.

The painting hung from 1890 to 1995 in the former dining room of Neuhaus Castle, directly opposite the portrait of Elector Clemens August of Bavaria. The officers of the 8th Hussar Regiment established a club for their meetings here and in the adjacent premises. The Prussian regiment was stationed at Neuhaus and Paderborn castle from 1851 to 1919. Following the end of World War I, the regiment was disbanded.

After the exhibition ends in January of next year, the portrait will be returned to the Residenz Museum in Neuhaus Castle.

PHOTO: Ernst Karlovich Lipgart (1847-1932). Self-portrait, 1881.
From the Collection of the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Ernst Karlovich Lipgart (1847-1932) was a Russian portraitist and decorator. He was born in Tartu, and after living for a time in Florence, where he studied at the Academy of Arts, he moved to France and then to Russia.

He arrived in St. Petersburg in 1886, where he painted portraits of members of the Imperial family, including a whole gallery of portraits of Nicholas II. He also decorated palaces and theatres in the capital, including the curtain in the Hermitage Theatre.

Lipgart also took on more unusual requests, including the menu for the Tsar’s coronation in 1896 and then painting 100 figures on a piano, telling the story of Orpheus. The piano was a present from the Tsar to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

Between 1906-1929 he served as the Main Curator of the Hermitage Art Gallery. His role in the acquisition of the Madonna with a Flower by Leonardo da Vinci, which belonged to the Benois family, became a sensation in 1914.

In 1921 he was evicted from his house and his daughter was executed for harbouring a White Army officer.

© Paul Gilbert. 24 October 2021