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Entries / Grand Cascade (Peterhof)

Grand Cascade (Peterhof)

Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles

GRAND CASCADE, the main construction of the Peterhof fountains and cascades, located on the northern slope of the shore terrace in front of the Great Palace, facing the Lower Park. It was constructed in 1715-24 (architect J.F. Braunstein, J.B. Le Blond, N. Michetti, M.G. Zemtsov), the original sculptural decor (gilded lead) was created by sculptors M.K. Rastrelli, F.P. Vassout and G.K. Osner. The Sampson Fountain, a monument to the victory in the Battle of Poltava (on St. Samson’s Day), was opened in 1735 (sculptor B.K. Rastrelli, craftsman P.J. Soualem). The Grand Cascade encompasses the Great and Upper grottos, two symmetrical waterfall staircases with water jets on seven steps, the central three-step cascade and the Sampson scoop. From the Grand Cascade, the Grand Canal leads to the Gulf of Finland with 22 fountains-bowls (1735, architect M. G. Zemtsov, bowls - 1853-60, architect A.I. Stakenshneider). In 1799-1806, a full reconstruction of the Grand Cascade was undertaken (architect A.N. Voronikhin, master F.A. Strelnikov): the former statues were replaced with bronze gilded sculptures (1800-01, sculptors F.F. Shchedrin, F.G. Gordeev, I.P. Prokofiev, I.P. Martos, masters V.P. Ekimov, E. Gastecloux). The central composition is Sampson Tearing the Lion's Jaws (sculptor M.I. Kozlovsky). During the restoration of the Grand Cascade 1859-60 (architect N.L. Benois) statues in the grottoes and the Basket Fountain were installed. The Grand Cascade boasts 33 statues and sculptural groups, 18 vases and 31 bas-reliefs on the steps (recreated in 1947). In the autumn of 1941, a considerable number of sculptures were sheltered and preserved. During the occupation, Sampson, Neva and Volkhov sculptures were stolen and the Grand Cascade was blown up; restored only in 1947-50. The symbol of Peterhof, Sampson, was recreated by sculptors V.L. Simonov and N.V. Mikhailov. In 1987-95, an extensive restoration of the Grand Cascade was carried out, lost and distorted elements were reconstructed (architect M.A. Dementyeva).

References: Вернова Н. В. Петергоф: Большой каскад. Петродворец, 1999; Раскин А. Душа Петергофа: Фонтаны и каскады. СПб., 1999.

Y. M. Piryutko.

Benois Nikolay Leontievich
Braunstein Johann Friedrich
Dementyeva M.A.
Ekimov Vasily Petrovich
Gastecloux E.
Gordeev Fedor Gordeevich
Kozlovsky Mikhail Ivanovich
Le Blond Jean-Baptiste Alexander
Martos Ivan Petrovich
Michetti Niccolo
Mikhaylov N.V.
Osner Konrad
Prokofiev Ivan Prokofievich
Rastrelli Bartolomeo Carlo de
Shchedrin Feodosy Fedorovich
Simonov Vasily Lvovich
Soualem P.J.
Stakensсhneider Andrey Ivanovich
Strelnikov F.A.
Vassout Francois
Voronikhin Andrey Nikiforovich
Zemtsov Mikhail Grigorievich

Раскин А. Г. Душа Петергофа: Фонтаны и каскады. СПб., 1999
Вернова Н. В. Петергоф: Большой каскад. Петродворец, 1999