Portrait of Nicholas II by Kuznetsov, Nikolai Dmitrievich (1914), exhibited in the Great Catherine Palace.
Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov (18 May 1868 – 17 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, was the last Emperor of Russia, King of Congress Poland and Grand Duke of Finland, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his abdication on 15 March 1917.
During his reign, Nicholas gave support to the economic and political reforms promoted by his prime ministers, Sergei Witte and Pyotr Stolypin. He advocated modernization based on foreign loans and close ties with France, but resisted giving the new parliament (the Duma) major roles.
Ultimately, progress was undermined by Nicholas’s commitment to autocratic rule, strong aristocratic opposition and defeats sustained by the Russian military in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I.
By March 1917, public support for Nicholas had collapsed and he was forced to abdicate the throne, thereby ending the Romanov dynasty’s 304-year rule of Russia (1613–1917).
Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov (2 December 1850 – 2 March 1929) was a Russian painter and art professor at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. His work consists primarily of portraits and genre scenes.