L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Family of Christian IX, by Laurits Tuxen, 1886

Click to view larger.

Laurits Tuxen (December 9, 1853, Copenhagen – November 21, 1927, Copenhagen), a Danish painter. He was best known for his group portraits of the interconnected royal families of Denmark, Great Britain, Russia, and Greece, and for his thickly peopled scenes of coronations and royal weddings.

Christian IX (April 8, 1818, Schleswig – January 29, 1906, Copenhagen) and his wife, Louise of Hesse (September 7, 1817, Kassel – September 29, 1898, Bernstorff Castle), were king and queen of Denmark from 1863 to 1906. Because of the remarkable dynastic successes of their children, they became known as "The Grandfather and Grandmother of Europe". Their second son, William, was elected King of the Hellenes in 1863, taking the name George I. The same year their eldest daughter married the Prince of Wales, eventually becoming Queen Alexandra of Great Britain. And in 1866, their middle daughter, Dagmar, married the Russian Tsarevich; in 1881, she became the Empress Maria Feodorovna and was the mother of the last tsar, Nicholas II.

The Russian Imperial couple and their youngest son, Mikhail, whose pose differs from that in the finished painting.

The Danish Royal couple and all six of their children were extremely close. As the children married and started families of their own, some of them in different countries, they continued to regularly gather en masse, bringing their spouses and numerous offspring. So it was not at all unusual for the kings of Denmark and Greece, the Tsar of Russia, and the future King of England to be temporarily housed - not all of them entirely willingly - under the same roof. The roof in question was that of Fredensborg Palace, the country estate of the Danish Royal family; the summer days spent together were known amongst the family as the "Fredensborg days".  Tuxen was the artist of choice to commemorate the celebrations of this vast and loving family.  This group portrait was painted in the Havesalen - the Garden Hall - of the palace during the "Fredensborg days" of 1883 to 1886.

There are reduced versions (with variations) of this painting and several preparatory sketches; some may have been worked up after the fact as proper works in themselves.

Reduced version.  (Notice that Grand Duke Mikhail, at the center of the painting, is in a different position than in the original.)
(Grand Duke Mikhail's position in the original.)
The British Royal couple with their elder son, Prince Albert Victor.
The Danish Royal couples youngest daughter, Thyra, Duchess
of Cumberland, with her one of her daughters.
The future Tsar Nicholas II.
The Danish Crown Princess Louise with
one of her daughters.
Group including the three Wales daughters and some of their
Russian and Danish cousins.
Reference photograph of the Danish Royal couple.
Reference photograph of the Russian Imperial couple.
Reference photograph of Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Three vintage views of the Havesalen of Fredensborg Palace.
Fredensborg Palace today.

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