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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kruger, Franz


Equestrian Portrait of Emperor Alexander I of Russia
c.1812
oil on canvas
484 x 344 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Alexander I of Russia (1777-1825), served as Emperor of Russia from 1801-1825. He was the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825, and also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania.    

Franz Krueger (1797 - 1857), called "Horse-Krueger", was a German painter. He was a favorite at the Russian court.
He first trained under a printmaker, who instilled in him the qualities of precise observation and solid workmanship. He was accepted into the Berlin Akademie in 1812, but he also continued to train independently, carrying out studies of horses. He soon developed a gift for finding themes that appealed to Prussian society and that reflected it attractively but truthfully; thus he favored hunting and stable scenes. The wars against Napoleon, however, inspired him to paint military subjects and portraits. He painted portraits of the members of the Prussian royal family, of various court persons, of Prussian high society. In 1825 Friedrich Wilhelm III granted him the title of "Royal Professor". At the same time he became a full member of the Academy of Arts. Krueger´s fame led him to numerous professional trips to other countries. From 1840 on he was the favorite painter of the next Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and his retinue. As a royalist, he was profoundly dismayed at the political unrest of 1848, and his last large painting does not repeat the patriotic message of the earlier paintings.