HERMITAGE EXPOSITION IN AMSTERDAM

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AMSTERDAM, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - "Nicholas and Alexandra. The Last Czar and Czarina" exposition opens in the Hermitage's branch in Amsterdam. It features art works and personal effects of the family of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II.

The exposition deals with the life of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna and their children.

There are personal effects, letters, photographs and paintings among the showpieces. Some of them are real masterpieces, for instance icons of the 19th - early 20th centuries (the icon of St. Alexander Nevsky painted by Vasily Vasilyev is of special interest), paintings by court artists "The Wedding Ceremony of Emperor Nicholas II and Grand Princess Alexandra Fyodorovna", "The Coronation of Alexander III and Maria Fyodorovna", the portrait of Nicholas II after the coronation and a portrait of Alexandra Fyodorovna.

Moreover, a photographic portrait of the last Russian emperor's family, gala dresses of courtiers, Faberge jewelry, and the dish for bread and salt, which was used during Nicholas II's coronation.

The exposition will be open from September 18, 2004 till February 13, 2005.

According to organizers, private life is seldom linked with the country's history as is the case with Nicholas II and his family. The showpieces will help visitors see the events in Russia of that time.

"This is an exposition about the tragic story of one family and the history of Russia, the family, which begot the revolution ["Down with autocracy" was a motto of the February bourgeois revolution. Autocracy was considered the source of all troubles including World War I and Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War] and fell victim of this revolution [Nicholas II and his family were assassinated by Bolsheviks in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg in 1918]," State Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky told RIA Novosti.

Ernst Veen, director of the Hermitage's branch in Amsterdam, said, on his part, that many people admired the previous exposition, which featured the ancient Greek gold articles from the Black Sea coast.

"The interest in Russian culture keeps growing in the Netherlands. By 2006 we shall fully reconstruct all the halls allocated by Amsterdam's City Hall for our museum. Every year we shall hold two major expositions of the Hermitage treasures," Mr. Veen said.

The museum in Amsterdam is the Hermitage's largest foreign branch. Its expositions are changed twice a year. The third exposition scheduled for March 5 - September 4, 2005 will be dedicated to Venetian painters of the 18th century.

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