Alfred Philippe ROLL (1846-1919) Portrait... - Lot 40 - Artenchères

Lot 40
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Alfred Philippe ROLL (1846-1919) Portrait... - Lot 40 - Artenchères
Alfred Philippe ROLL (1846-1919)
Portrait of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918)
Oil on canvas, signed lower right
Circa 1899
63 x52 cm
(A restoration)

This portrait must be linked to one of the major paintings commissioned by the French government from the painter Alfred Roll, on the occasion of the construction of the Pont Alexandre III in Paris.
This large canvas (497x320 cm), painted in 1899, is currently kept at the Museum of the History of France in Versailles (Image: internet link: ). It represents the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone of the Alexandre III bridge, on October 7, 1896. Among the jubilant Parisian crowd, the tsar and his wife Alexandra Federovna, as well as President Félix Faure are represented. Its conservation at the Museum of Versailles, dedicated to "all the glories of France", attests to its high historical value. This ceremony was a high point in the history of France in general and of Parisians in particular. The press of the time had abundantly illustrated this moment, and detailed the lifestyle of the Russian royal couple.
At the end of the 19th century, against a backdrop of Franco-German European tensions and military-political alliances, Republican France and the autocratic regime of Alexander III had signed a convention of military rapprochement in 1894. Nicholas II, Alexander's son, pursued this Franco-Russian alliance policy, also in response to economic interests. The future Alexander III bridge, which will be inaugurated at the 1900 Universal Exhibition, seals in stone this metaphor of the bridge between the Seine and the Neva. The image is spectacular and is intended to serve as political propaganda.
As the official portraitist and painter of the Third Republic, Alfred Roll is entrusted with this official commission by transcribing this historic day of celebration. <
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