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The subject index / Bronze Horseman

Bronze Horseman

Categories / Capital/Heraldry, Symbols of St. Petersburg, State Awards
Categories / Architecture/Sculpture, Monuments

BRONZE HORSEMAN, the popular name of the monument to Emperor Peter the Great on Dekabristov Square. Originated from Alexander Pushkin's poem of the same name (1833); one of the best known Russian monuments and world monumental sculptures, and the first sculptural monument in Russia. It was erected on 7 August 1782. Empress Catherine II summoned French sculptor E.M. Falconet to work on the monument upon the suggestion of French philosopher D. Diderot. The master devised the original design for a monument to the creator, lawmaker and benefactor of his country; according to his design, the succinct form acquired a surprisingly profound inherent meaning. As the author admitted, Peter the Great's face did not come easily, and finally it was his apprentice, M.A. Collot, who moulded it. The silhouette of the rampant horse, held by the horseman's Imperious hand, is accentuated by the contour of the pedestal which is reminiscent of an electrical surge rushing upwards (see Thunder-rock). The moulding of the bronze sculpture was performed by master E.M. Khaylov in 1774-78 in Falconet's shop on Bolshaya Morskaya Street. In 1778, the sculptor left St. Petersburg, and work was finished by architect Y.M. Felten and sculptor F.M. Gordeev. The monument is 10.4 metres long. Peter's simple garment is connotative of traditional Russian dress, a laurel wreath symbolizes glory, the bearskin on the horse's croup symbolizes power, and the snake beneath the horse’s hooves is symbolic of good triumphing over evil. The inscription on the pedestal, in Latin and Russian, reads: From Catherine II to Peter I, which symbolizes the succession of the monarchs. The perfect combination of dynamic and static elements suggests an impression of stateliness and violent motion. Pushkin's poem imparts a universal interpretation of the monument: ?Ah, lord of doom?And potentate, 'twas thus, appearing?Above the void, and in thy hold?A curb of iron, thou sat'st of old?O'er Russian, on her haunches rearing! ?The Bronze Horseman has been embodied in many works of Russian literature, from V.G. Ruban Inscriptions to the Monument (the 1780s) to apocalyptical visions by F.M. Dostoevsky (The Adolescent), A. Bely (Petersburg), and V.V. Mayakovsky (The Last Tale of St. Petersburg), as well as in illustrations by painter A.N. Benois' To Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman (1905).

References: Аркин Д. Е. Медный всадник: Памятник Петру I в Ленинграде. М.; Л.,1958; Каганович А. Л. "Медный всадник": История создания монумента. 2-е изд., доп. Л., 1982.

Y. M. Piryutko.

Bely Andrey (real name Bugaev Boris Nikolaevich)
Benois Alexander Nikolaevich
Catherine II, Empress
Collot Marie-Anne
Diderot Denis
Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhailovich
Falconet Etienne Maurice
Felten Yury (Georg Friedrich) Matveevich
Gordeev Fedor Gordeevich
Khaylov Emelyan Mikhailovich
Mayakovsky Vladimir Vladimirovich
Peter I, Emperor
Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich
Ruban Vasily Grigorievich

Dekabristov Square/Saint Petersburg, city

Аркин Д. Е. Медный всадник: Памятник Петру I в Ленинграде. М.; Л., 1958
Каганович А. Л. "Медный всадник": История создания монумента. 2-е изд., доп. Л., 1982

The subject Index


Admiralteisky District

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Admiralteyskaya Side

ADMIRALTEYSKAYA SIDE, a historical name of the central part of St. Petersburg bound on the north by the Neva river and on the south by the Moika River. Formed in the early 18th century when the General Admiralty

Angliiskaya Embankment

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Bolshaya Neva

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Collot M.-A., (1748-1821), sculptor

COLLOT Marie-Anne (1748-1821), sculptor. Studied in Paris under E.M. Falconet. In 1766 she went together with him to St. Petersburg, becoming a member of the Academy of Arts in 1767. She sculpted marble busts of Prince G.G

Dekabristov Square

DEKABRISTOV SQUARE (prior to 1925, also called Senatskaya, Petrovskaya), is situated between Admiralteyskaya Embankment and St. Isaac Square. It appeared at the beginning of the 18th century west of the outer bank of Admiralty Fortress;

Falconet E. M., (1716-1791), sculptor

FALCONET Etienne Maurice (1716-1791), sculptor. He studied sculpture under J. B. Le Moin in Paris in 1734-44. He was the director of the Sevres Porcelain Factory in 1757-66

Felten Y. M. (1730-1801), architect

FELTEN Yury Matveevich (Georg Friedrich) (1730 -1801, St. Petersburg), architect, professor of the Academy of Fine Arts (from 1775; from 1785 a Council member, in 1789-94 director), State Counsellor (1784)

Geological location

GEOLOGICAL LOCATION. St. Petersburg along with its outskirts is located on the convergence of two major tectonic structures: the southern Baltic Plate and the Northwest Russiаn Plate of the East European plain

Gordeev F.G., (1744-1810), sculptor

Gordeev Fedor Gordeevich (1744, Tsarskoe Selo - 1810, St. Petersburg), sculptor. Studied at the Academy of Arts (1759-67) under N.F. Gillet, and received a retainer from the Academy of Arts to study in Paris (1767 - 1769) and in Rome (1769 - 1772)

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Museum of City Sculpture

MUSEUM OF CITY SCULPTURE, State Museum of City Sculpture (STCS) (179/2 Nevsky Prospect) was organised in 1939 with the aim to keep records, provide protection and carry out restoration of major monuments

St. Isaac's Cathedral

ST. ISAAC'S CATHEDRAL, located at 1 St Isaac's Square, an architectural monument of late Classicism and the largest church in St. Petersburg. The first wooden church, which stood at the approximate location of the Bronze Horseman now

Symbols of St. Petersburg

THE SYMBOLS OF ST. PETERSBURG, works of art associated with St. Petersburg in the mass consciousness. The best known visual symbols include the weathercocks on the steeples of the SS


THUNDER-STONE, the name of the granite monolith, that serves as a pedestal to the equestrian statue of Emperor Peter the Great (see Bronze Horseman). It was discovered in 1768 in the forest near Konnaya Lakhta village by a local, S.G

Yatsevich A.G. (1887-1942), Regional Ethnographer

YATSEVICH Andrey Grigorievich (1887, St. Petersburg - 1942, Leningrad) art historian, regional ethnographer, specialist in the works by Pushkin. Yatsevich graduated from the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg University in 1905