Architect of the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg Etienne Maurice Falcone. History of creation and interesting facts about the monument

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Architect of the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg Etienne Maurice Falcone. History of creation and interesting facts about the monument
Architect of the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg Etienne Maurice Falcone. History of creation and interesting facts about the monument

Video: Architect of the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg Etienne Maurice Falcone. History of creation and interesting facts about the monument

Video: Architect of the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg Etienne Maurice Falcone. History of creation and interesting facts about the monument
Video: 09 Alexander Pushkin’s Russia 2023, September

In 1782, a monument to the founder of St. Petersburg, Peter the Great, was unveiled on Senate Square. The bronze monument, which later became one of the symbols of the city, is shrouded in legends and secrets. Like everything in this amazing city on the Neva, it has its own history, its heroes and its own special life.

The architect of the "Bronze Horseman" - the Frenchman Etienne Maurice Falcone, dreamed of creating a unique monument all his life, and it was in Russia that he made his dream come true. The famous sculptor did a brilliant job with his work. Looking at this ten-meter monument, it immediately becomes clear to whom the Bronze Horseman monument is dedicated.

The history of its occurrence, as well as the mystical events that accompanied the creation of the monument, we will learn from this article.

Monument to Peter I

After the death of Peter the Great in 1725, the throne passed "from hand to hand", and nothing "great" happened in those years. Until the wife of Peter III seized power through a coup(grandson of Peter the Great), Catherine II. It was she who in 1762 became the only equal empress of Russia.

Catherine II admired Peter the Great, she wanted to create something as great and large-scale for her predecessor. So in 1766, she instructed her favorite, Prince Golitsyn, to find a sculptor abroad to work on the monument to Peter.

The history of the creation of the monument "The Bronze Horseman" begins in Paris. It was there that the Grand Duke found a sculptor who met the needs of the Empress. From there, Etienne-Maurice Falcone arrived with his young assistant, the talented seventeen-year-old Marie-Anne Collot.

Catherine saw the monument in accordance with the European fashion of that time: Peter in the form of a Roman conqueror with a rod in his hand. However, the sculptor convinced the empress: Russia has its own history and its own heroes.

As a result, the monument, which took sixteen years to create, turned out to be completely innovative, special and ingenious.

History of Creation

Etienne Maurice Falcone set to work enthusiastically. To create a statue of a horse, the master took three years! The sculptor's workshop was located in the former throne room of the winter palace of Elizabeth. A huge platform was installed in the center of the hall, with the same angle of inclination as was intended for the future pedestal of the statue. Experienced horsemen rode on this platform, rearing their horses. The artist, in turn, made sketches of horses in order to choose the perfect option for the monument. Falcone made thousands of drawings before finding the one that would go intothe history of the great monument of St. Petersburg.

When the ideal horse of Peter the Great was ready, a building was erected in St. Petersburg to cast the statue. The process was followed by the best foundry craftsmen of St. Petersburg. Year the statue was cast in bronze.

However, the history of the creation of the monument "The Bronze Horseman" is interesting not only for the creation of a horse: Peter the Great himself, sitting on a bearskin, personifies the spirit of the victorious people! Few people notice a snake under the horse's hooves, a symbolic evil that the emperor trampled on.

Thunder Stone

Initially, Falcone planned to put a huge monument on a rock, natural and solid. Moreover, the rock was supposed to be in the form of a wave, symbolizing the great sea power that Peter the Great created.

It was not easy to find such a stone. We can say that the whole world was looking for a stone. And then an ordinary peasant Semyon Grigoryevich Vishnyakov found a suitable monolith in the village of Lakhta. Popularly, this monolith was nicknamed "Thunderstone" because of its long history. The old-timers claimed that lightning somehow hit the stone and split it in two. According to rough calculations, the stone weighed about 2000 tons. This is a lot. After the removal of the stone, a reservoir was formed in its place, called Petrovsky Pond.

There was a dilemma how to deliver the rock to St. Petersburg (about eight kilometers). Ekaterina announced a competition, and there was a person who came up with the method. With the help of levers and jacks, the stone was loaded onto a pre-prepared platform. From the place where the stone was located, they dug a channel, strengthened it andsent cargo by water.

Thunder stone
Thunder stone

"Thunder Stone" turned out to be made of extremely dense and high-quality granite with crystallization veins. It was taken to the city for about a year, during which time it was given the desired shape and shape by 48 masters.

When the granite block for the Bronze Horseman monument was delivered to the city, locals broke off pieces of it to make tips for their walking sticks.

The length of the stone was 13.5 m, width - 6.5 m, height - 8 m. However, when the mass was cleared of moss and trimmed, it turned out that its length was not enough. As a result, the monolith was built up in front and behind from broken pieces.

About a thousand people worked daily to transport the huge stone.

Description of the monument

Looking at the monument on the Senate Square, its greatness and symbolism immediately catches the eye. Behind Peter the Great is St. Isaac's Cathedral, Peter himself looks at the Neva, behind which rises the Peter and Paul Fortress. The one with which the construction of the city began.

Bronze Horseman at night
Bronze Horseman at night

A huge boulder on which a bronze monument is installed - high-quality granite, weighing about a ton. On both sides of the monument is written "To Peter the Great Catherine the Second of the summer of 1782", moreover, the inscription on one side is in Russian, on the second - in Latin.

The bronze monument itself stands on only two points of support - these are the horse's hind hooves. Neither the tail nor the snake provide stability to the statue.

The horse reared up, Peter the Great sits on it,surveying their possessions from a height. He looks at the city he built: beautiful, majestic, strong. With his right hand, he points into the distance, to the expanses of the Neva River. The left holds the reins. In the scabbard, the emperor has a sword with a snake's head. On the head is a crown of thorns. The face is calm but determined. According to Falcone's idea, "The Bronze Horseman" looks at his city with loving eyes, in the eyes of Peter the pupils are made in the form of hearts.

An important episode in the monument is the snake being crushed by the horse rider's hooves. It contains the evil that the great sovereign trampled and overcame with the power of his power and spirit.

Monument to Peter 1 in St. Petersburg - "The Bronze Horseman" - one of the most striking sights of the city.


Work on the monument lasted 12 years. The most difficult thing was to deliver a giant granite rock to the city and install it in the chosen place. An equally difficult task was to cast a bronze monument. During the entire period of work, there were many force majeure situations. Pipes broke during the casting of the monument. The bronze sculpture was cast for more than a year, and everything was done only on the second attempt. The difficulty was that the back of the monument had to be heavier than the front. This task was achieved through the colossal efforts and labor of the sculptor.

The stone for the pedestal fell several times from the wooden platform on which it was delivered to the city. Delivery also took over a year. A lot of money was spent to deliver part of the sculpture to St. Petersburg.

But in the end all the difficulties werebehind, and finally the day came for the grand opening of the monument - August 7, 1782.

The event was massive. A huge canvas depicting mountains covered the monument. A fence was erected around the monument. The military guards entered the square, the parade began, led by Golitsyn. After lunch, Empress Catherine II herself arrived on a boat along the Neva. Solemnly, she spoke from the balcony of the Senate and gave permission for the opening of the monument. At that moment, the fence fell, and to the drum roll and shots of the cavalry, the canvas was removed, revealing to the gaze of thousands of people a brilliant work dedicated to the founder of St. Petersburg. The opening of the monument "The Bronze Horseman", and then still a monument to Peter the Great, took place. The imperial regiments moved along the Neva embankment to the roar and admiring cries of onlookers.

Discovery of the Bronze Horseman
Discovery of the Bronze Horseman

Sad as it may seem, but the architect of the Bronze Horseman - Etienne Maurice Falcone - was not present at the opening. At the end of his work, his relationship with Catherine II deteriorated greatly. She hurried the master, but circumstances did not give the sculptor the opportunity to finish the work faster. Falcone had practically no assistants, many were afraid to work on such a responsible task, but most asked for too large sums and fees. As a result, the artist had to learn a lot and do it himself. The sculpture of the snake was already created by the St. Petersburg sculptor Gordeev, and the architect Felten was involved in all preparations for the opening and installation of all the details of the monument.

It is noteworthy that Falcone"The Bronze Horseman" did not see and did not create any more sculptures. The tension experienced by the architect during the creation of the monumental work affected.

Etienne Maurice Falcone

French sculptor Maurice Falcone was born and died in Paris. He lived for 75 years, becoming famous in Russia as the architect of the Bronze Horseman. The sculptor's uncle was a marble maker, which was the main reason for choosing a future profession. At the age of 28, Etienne Maurice entered the Paris Academy of Arts, having previously gained experience from the court sculptor.

Falconet's works are highly valued at court, he becomes the favorite of Madame Pompadour (favorite of Louis 15), who orders him many marble figurines. In the 18th century, Paris was immersed in European classicism and rococo style. Thin graceful silhouettes of beautiful girls and angels were in full swing.

Etienne Falcone
Etienne Falcone

In the period from 1750 - 1766, the artist creates many works in marble, which are highly valued in Paris. Today they can be seen in the most famous museums in the world. But a truly worthwhile and significant work for the master was an order for a monument to Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. On the recommendation of his friend Denis Diderot, Falcone goes to Russia. He will have the most important work of his life, which will last 14 years. Unfortunately, the artist will not be able to evaluate the result of his creation. Due to difficult relations with the customer, Catherine II, he will have to leave St. Petersburg and not be present at the opening. However, the Empress will send him a commemorative coin withthe image of the great work of the sculptor.

The author of the monument "The Bronze Horseman" will go down in the history of Russia forever. Today it is one of the most famous sights of the Northern capital.

Etienne Maurice Falcone's dream came true in "The Bronze Horseman", this is exactly the work that the artist dreamed of all his life. Unfortunately, upon returning to his homeland, the he alth of the old master deteriorated. The Petersburg climate did nothing to improve his condition. In France, Falcone broke the paralysis, which did not allow the sculptor to create more. Ironically, the artist's "work of life" was his last creation.

Architect's work

Etienne Falcone's sculptures, created before his trip to Russia, can now be seen in the Hermitage and the Louvre. His most famous works, before The Bronze Horseman, are Seated Cupid (1757) and Winter (1763). Falcone was an adherent of European classicism, all his porcelain statues are gentle and romantic. Smooth lines, complex poses and realistic images - a classic vision of 18th century art.

The little cherub can also be seen on the statue "Pygmalion and Galatea".

Statue of Falcone
Statue of Falcone

Today, looking at the early works of Falcone, it is difficult to imagine that it was he who became the architect of the Bronze Horseman. The monumental sculpture, breathing its power, huge in size, aggressive and at the same time very strong, cannot be compared with the tender images of naked maidens. This is the genius of it.creator.

Symbol of St. Petersburg

The city on the Neva was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great. This city has become truly unique. It impressed with its architectural ensembles, luxury of facades and unique architectural monuments. After the death of Peter the city not only did not lose its uniqueness, but also flourished and transformed. 300 years is not a long time for a city, but the most terrible events in the history of Russia fell to the lot of St. Petersburg.

Of course, during its life St. Petersburg has acquired symbols, legends and brilliant people who lived there in different periods of history. One of these symbols was the "Bronze Horseman". It is noteworthy that it received its name much later than its appearance. One of the most important people in the history of Russia was Alexander Pushkin, it was he who sang the legendary monument in his work of the same name.

The author of the monument "The Bronze Horseman" - Etienne Falcone. The genius entered the history of the city, because it was he who saw Peter the Great in such an image, which is familiar to everyone today.

Interesting facts

Petersburg is impossible to imagine without all sorts of legends and myths. Many of them are associated with monuments, which, as superstitious people believe, can come to life and store the souls of dead heroes in their bronze crypts.

The legends did not bypass the famous "Bronze Horseman". The most common of them is associated with Paul the First, the great-grandson of Peter the Great. It was he who saw the ghost of his famous relative, who pointed him to the place where a monument in his honor would be erected in the future.

Bronze Horseman in the Dark
Bronze Horseman in the Dark

Another mystical story happened much later, in 1812. When the threat of a French attack led by Napoleon became quite real, the current Tsar Alexander the First decides to take the "Bronze Horseman" away from St. Petersburg. Then the emperor's comrade-in-arms has a dream about how the bronze horseman breaks off his stone pedestal and rushes towards Stone Island. Peter the Great indignantly shouts to Alexander: "Young man, what have you brought my Russia to? But as long as I stand in my place, my city has nothing to fear." This dream made such a strong impression on the emperor that he decides to leave the monument in its place.

Besides mystical stories, there are quite real things in the life of the monument. For example, the head of Peter the Great, sculpted by Marie Ann Colo, Catherine II liked so much that she appointed her a lifetime salary. And this despite the fact that the sculptor of the Falcone monument nevertheless changed the plaster cast made by the girl.

There are also many myths associated with the pedestal. One of the most famous, which seems quite real, is the origin of the "Thunder Stone". As scientists and art critics found out, there was no such granite, which the rock consists of, on the territory of St. Petersburg and the region. It was assumed that it was the glaciers that brought a huge stone block to this area. And it was on it that the ancient people performed their pagan rites. Thunder split the rock in two, and the people gave it the name "Thunder-Stone".

Another story is connected with the death of Peter. As is known,the emperor caught a cold during his campaign to Lake Ladoga. It was there that an event took place that finally knocked down Peter. In the very village of Lakhta, where the stone was found, Peter, waist-deep in water, was rescuing a boat that had run aground with his soldiers. While resting after a difficult incident, Peter lay exactly on this "Thunder-Stone", which will later become a pedestal to the great monument in his honor! So the stone took the king's soul in order to keep it forever in himself and in the city he created.

However, the monument was cursed more than once, it was mostly residents of the surrounding villages and villages who did not like the transformation of the new sovereign. When the monument was opened, someone called Peter the Great the "Horseman of the Apocalypse", bringing evil and destruction. But as we know, the curse cannot destroy a beautifully crafted work of art. The common sense and professionalism of the people who worked on the bronze sculpture is at the head.

Also interesting facts about the monument "The Bronze Horseman" are connected with the difficult wartime. During the blockade of Leningrad, all significant objects of St. Petersburg were hidden so that the Nazis could not destroy them during the bombing. The bronze horseman was carefully covered with bags of earth and sand, and boarded up with wooden boards on top. After the blockade was lifted, the monument was released and was surprised to find that the Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union was drawn in chalk on the chest of Peter the Great.

Monument in culture

Getting into one of the most beautiful cities in Russia and walking through the central and significant places, youyou will never be able to bypass St. Isaac's Cathedral and the monument to Peter the Great.

And today it amazes with its beauty and grandeur. Many Russians who have never visited the cities on the Neva have read Pushkin, and The Bronze Horseman is familiar to them from the work of the same name.

When the bronze monument was opened, Catherine II ordered to make commemorative coins. Later, commemorative coins with the "Bronze Horseman" will also appear in the numismatics of the Soviet period. Currently, we can see our hero on 5 kopecks.

commemorative coin
commemorative coin

In St. Petersburg "The Bronze Horseman" is the number one monument. The description of the sculpture dedicated to Peter the Great is often found in the stories and poems of famous writers and poets. At all times, the city has been inextricably linked with its creator and the most beautiful monument in his honor.

Philately did not bypass the Bronze Horseman. The famous sculpture can be seen on stamps from 1904.

And, perhaps, the most beautiful embodiment in culture is the Faberge egg. Commissioned by Nicholas II, this masterpiece was presented by the Tsar to his wife for Easter. Its surprise is that when the egg is opened, the mechanism raises a golden miniature statue of the Bronze Horseman.


Where the monument is located, not only the townspeople, but also the guests of St. Petersburg know: Senatskaya Square, St. Petersburg, Russia.