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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Misha's home gymnasium, circa late 1890s

I love these two faded photographs of the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich swinging on a trapeze. I love them just as quirky images, but also for their context. As I recently wrote in a two-part post - here and here - Misha was just a regular young man who, by an accident of birth, lived a life overfull of drama not of his own making and died, unfairly, before his time. A quiet, kind fellow, he wanted what all of us want: to love and be loved and to live a happy, peaceful life. These images show us the boy, full of life and fun, before history began to intervene.

(These two images were the original inspiration for my writing about the Grand Duke. But, as too often happens, I got so carried away with the telling of the tale, that two photographs of the subject swinging on a trapeze ended up not seeming sufficient to cover a whole life - and certainly not two whole blog posts.)

With his sister Olga. I don't know whether these pictures were taken at Gatchina or at the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg, but it's
obvious that Misha had set up his own home gymnasium in one of those venerable structures; besides the trapeze, one can see hand
weights on the shelf in the background.

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