Dear Forum members,
My apologies if this topic has been picked up elsewhere already; if so, I couldn't find it.
I wanted to share with you my experience of visiting the new exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam called 1917 - Romanovs & Revolution. It takes you to Imperial Russia and follows Nicholas' reign until his abdication and murder, with over 250 objects. For me, it was more like a time travel experience and something I could only hope for, living in the Netherlands. Truly spectacular and very moving.
Being intrigued by the fate of Alexei in particular, I found the objects which once belonged to him the most impressive. There are several clothes he wore, including a military uniform and cap, which were very special to behold up close. Also the toys and drawings of Alexei and the duchesses were a very moving sight. I felt that through these objects I could get in touch with the tsarevich and his family members.
The last room was very hard to be in as it was all about the murder. In the middle, in a glass case, is displayed one of the actual bayonets used in the murder. Entering that room, which was also very dark (not much light), literally gave me the chills. On one of the walls was a picture of the room in Ekaterinenburg and on this picture was projected a family portrait of the Romanovs, but hazy, ghost-like. A haunting and yet fitting use of imagery.
In fact, throughout the entire exhibition there was an impressive use of photos - many of the walls were completely covered in black and white photos of the Romanovs, St. Petersburg, WWI and the revolution. Sound and light effects were also used, but with (some) moderation.
There were many visitors so at some points it was quite crowded in some of the more narrow rooms or paths, but when you can take the time it is worth it to wait so you can see and read everything with care. For instance, telegrams between Nicholas and Wilhelm regarding the outbreak of WWI and several letters.
It was truly a thing to behold, these items from the lives of the Romanovs themselves, from highly important documents to glimpses into their family life, like a large picnic basket.
I feel that my description is a bit clumsy and doesn't do the exhibition justice; that's because the emotional impression it made is so hard to put into words.
The exhibition runs until September 17 and is highly recommended. The Hermitage website is here: http://hermitage.nl/en/