Before being brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and their children lived an idyllic life. Anna Virubova, a close confidant of the Romanov royal family, assembled photo albums of the summers spent with Romanovs that reflect this serene, idealized world.
As one of the leading royal families of Europe, the Romanovs were followed widely by their subjects and the rest of Europe, partly with the help of photography. Beginning in the nineteenth century, photographs of the European royal families started to be mass produced for the general public. The royal families of Europe saw photography as a way to communicate and build an emotional bond with their subjects. The photographs that were published and distributed in mass quantities were usually formal, posed images. Final photographs were approved by the royals, thus were the image that they wanted the public to see. In the case of the Romanovs, Nicholas and Alexandra wanted their subjects to view them as autocratic and dignified rulers. Candid, relaxed, unposed images were never seen by the public. Therefore, Anna’s albums of the Romanovs are very unusual, and have rarely been seen by the public before now.
Theresa Battaglio, Trinity College, Graduate Studies, Museum Exhibition 2016