The memorialization of the history of French invasion of Russia, initiated by Emperor Nicholas I, and its role in the formation of state ideology has been only fragmentary researched by Russian scholars. Existing historiography groups gather around two predominant subjects. The first group mainly reconstructs the process of creating The Description of the Patriotic War of 1812 by the court historian A. I. Mikhailovskii- Danilevskii and describes his interactions with his royal customer. The second group examines the creation of the “visual history” of the Patriotic War of 1812 represented by12 large-format paintings of major battles commissioned to the Bavarian artist Peter von Hess. Russian researchers have thoroughly reconstructed the process of the production of these series. Based on unpublished sources and studies of our colleagues, we managed to establish the fact of a direct involvement of the court historian A. I. Mikhailovskii-Danilevskii in the working process of the artist P. von Hess, whose series of paintings were created for the special “memorial room” of the military history of Russia in the Winter Palace. By focusing on the micro-history of this artistic commission, we were able to compare the censorial amendments personally made by the emperor in the verbal text and the visual interpretation of the history of the French invasion of Russia. This allowed us to highlight the priorities in Nicholas’ vision of the military history of Russia and to point out his corrections in the history book of the war. In particular, there is a notable change in the understanding of the role of individual commanders and the “common people” in the Patriotic War, which was initiated by the works of A. I. Mikhailovskii-Danilevskii, then fully expressed in the article by F. Bulgarin, and further developed into the visual series by P. von Hess. This provides us with more profound knowledge of the process of reinterpretation and memorialization of Russian national history by Nicholas I.
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