Art and Faith

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Ivan Makarov. The Sermon on the Mount (Christ Blessing the Imperial Family). 1889

The Sermon on the Mount (Christ Blessing the Imperial Family)

Ivan Makarov

1889

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This painting is a religious allegory. To the right of Christ, one can see Tsar Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (ruled 1881-94) with his family. To the immediate left of the tsar is Tsarevich Nikolai Aleksandrovich, who later became tsar (ruled 1894-1917) and was martyred, along with his family and four servants, in 1918 in Yekaterinburg by the Reds (he was canonised in 2000 by the Moscow Patriarchate as a Holy Passionbearer). Of course, it symbolises the fact that the Church was supportive of the tsar and blessed his rule. Tsar Aleksandr was a genuinely pious man and he passed his faith on to his son, who was, perhaps, the most spiritually-minded tsar in Russian history. Aleksandr Aleksandrovich was an unpretentious man who knew his limitations. That is, he was truly humble. He took no guff from anyone, but, he offered no abuse to anyone else either. In short, he was a good Christian ruler, well worth emulating. A man who embodied the best of monarchy and autocracy, I say. We need such today.

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