Royal art exhibit in Moscow

An exhibition showcasing more than a hundred works by Princess Olga, the sister of Russian Emperor Nicolas II, has opened in Moscow's Tretyakov gallery. Princess Olga was known for her passion for painting which finally turned into a lifelong occupation.

The exhibition ties in with the 125th anniversary of Princess Olga's birth. This is the first time Russian viewers have seen these works.

All the children of the Royal Family learnt to paint from their childhood, but only Olga took it up professionally. She used to organise exhibitions of Russian painters and support the work they did. All the money raised from the art events were then donated to charity.

But apart from organising charity events, Olga was keen on also creating her own pictures.

“It was a very striking move for the princess to position herself as an artist, as painting was not regarded as the proper occupation for a woman,” Ekaterina Selezneva, exhibition organiser, explained.

After the revolution of 1917 Olga was obliged to flee from Russia. She lived in Denmark for a while but then was forced to move to Canada. Paints and brushes were always at her side during her travels.

She sought inspiration in everyday life. Once she drew a birthday cake which was once presented to her.

“She drew a cake and gave this picture to the confectioner that made the cake. After his death I coaxed his wife into giving me the picture back,” Olga Kulikovskaya-Romanova, Princess Olga's daughter-in-law, recalls.

The princess's hobby finally turned into a lifelong occupation which earned her money.

Her works are currently kept in private collections across the world. The smaller part of her heritage which belongs to her family is now on display in the Tretyakov Gallery.