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, March 2, 2014

The coronation of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, by Adolph von Menzel, 1861-65

Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig (March 22, 1797, Berlin – March 9, 1888, Berlin), King of Prussia (1861 - 1888), and first emperor of Germany (1871 - 1888). Being the second son of King Frederick William III of Prussia, he was not expected to ascend the throne and from the age of ten devoted all his energies to his career in the Prussian army. In 1829, William married Princess Augusta von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach with whom he had two children. His elder brother succeeded their father as King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1840, but seventeen years later suffered a stroke and was thereafter physically and mentally incapacitated. As the king had no heirs of his own, Wilhelm became Prince Regent until his brother's death in 1861.

Detail:  The king and his son, the Crown Prince.
Detail:  The Queen and her daughter-in-law, the Crown Princess Victoria, later Empress Frederick.

His crowning on the eighteenth of October that same year, in the Schlosskirche at Königsberg Castle, was the first Prussian coronation since 1701 and the only crowning of a German king in the nineteenth century.

Two preparatory sketches.

Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel (December 8, 1815, Breslau – February 9, 1905, Berlin), considered one of the most important German artists of the nineteenth century, he was the most successful artist in germany during his day. Prolific, adept at anything from an intimate portrait sketch to a vast historical tableau, he was showered with honors by the public and the court during his lifetime; at his death, his funeral services were arranged by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who then followed in the procession behind his coffin.

Preparatory portraits:

Augusta, the new Queen of Prussia.
Otto von Bismarck.
Ludwig Hoffman.
Princess Alexandrine of Prussia.
Baron von der Heydt, Minister of State.
Count Alexander Schleinitz.

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