'Portrait of Emperor Alexander I', 1825. Artist: George Dawe
'Portrait of Emperor Alexander I', 1825. Alexander (1777-1825) ascended to the throne after the murder of his father, Paul I. He was initially a liberal and a reformer, but as his reign progressed Alexander became increasingly autocratic in both his domestic and foreign policies. The defeat of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 left Alexander one of the most powerful leaders in Europe. After his death in 1825, rumours persisted that he was in fact not dead at all but had fled to Siberia to become a hermit. In 1926 the Soviet authorities opened his tomb in an attempt to solve the mystery, only to find it empty. Found in the collection of the State Open-air Museum Peterhof, St Petersburg.
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