Summer Breeze

Painting of a young Russian duchess

Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia looking sharp, cool and collected in a very young and hip oufit – what happened to her?

She was the youngest daughter and fourth child of Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, and his wife, Princess Charlotte of Prussia. She was a younger sister of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The future looked bright… The “Summer Breeze” is implied in the image, and I’m thinking the song by the same name fits nicely. Written and recorded in 1972 by Seals and Crofts, later covered by many other artists since. I do love the version by George Benson & Al Jarreau on their “Givin’ It Up” album.

The painting was done when she was around the age of 15. Then suddenly at 19, she tragically died following complications during premature labour, probably worsened by a TBC infection. Her infant son didn’t make it either. Her husband eventually remarried, but never got over the loss of his first true love.

It was painted by Scottish artist Christina Robertson, and is on display in the Hermitage museum at St.Petersburg.