Portrait of Charles Alexander (1818-1901), Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1853-1901), 1855
Charles Alexander (German: Carl Alexander von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach; 24 June 1818 – 5 January 1901) was the ruler of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach as its grand duke from 1853 until his death. Born in Weimar, he was the second but eldest surviving son of Karl Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. His mother engaged as tutor for Karl the Swiss scholar Frédéric Soret who became a close acquaintance to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. When he was the Hereditary Grand Duke, Karl Alexander established a strong friendship with Fanny Lewald and Hans Christian Andersen, but this close relationship stopped in 1849 for the war against Denmark over the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein (the First German-Danish War). On 8 July 1853 his father died, and Karl Alexander became Grand Duke; but he stopped his constitutional accession until the Goethe's birthday, on 28 August 1853. Karl Alexander renovated Wartburg Castle, and left his traces in many places in Eisenach. He was the protector of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, retained the tradition of Weimar's classical period, and gave the old part of Weimar a new and better appearance with the establishment of the Herders monuments, how/as country, and the double monument for Goethe and Schiller. In 1860, he founded the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School (with Arnold Böcklin, Franz von Lenbach and the plastic artist Reinhold Begas). As Grand Duke he was automatically rector, president of Jena University where he supported especially the collections among them prominently the Oriental Coin Cabinet.
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