We answer your questions
– “Why are these sculptures in the garden and when did they appear?”

In the garden, the first sculptures appeared “Ceres” and “Flora” in the winter of 1707-1708, the first statues and busts appeared in the Summer Garden. Contemporaries are also unanimous that they were brought from Poland. However, most likely, Poland here meant the present-day Western Ukraine, where Peter the Great himself was in the spring of 1707. It is known that from here in early May he sent some paintings to Petersburg, and he could have brought works of plastics at the same time. Most of the statues from the first collection of sculptures in the Summer Garden have not survived to our time. Nevertheless, their plots are not in doubt. Probably, it was a series of sculptures of ancient gods, personifying the seasons. Ceres and possibly Flora still adorn the Summer Garden.

FLORA (Heinrich Meiring) – the Italian goddess of flowers, in modern times is usually considered also as the personification of spring. She is depicted in a long shirt, in her hands and at the hem she has flowers, on her head there is a wreath of roses. The twin statue depicting the god of the west wind Zephyr, Flora’s lover, has been lost. The sculptor Heinrich Meiring (1628-1723) appears to have come from the Rhineland. Since the late 1670s. and worked until his death in Venice and its environs, and at the turn of the XVII – XVIII centuries. was considered perhaps the most respected among local sculptors. “Flora” is the last work of the old master, marked with the stamp of fatigue. Characteristically, he repeats here the composition of his earlier statue of Flora, which was previously kept at the Villa Dzaguri in Altichiero (near Padua, Italy).

CEERA (Greek – Demeter) (Thomas Quellinus) – according to ancient mythology, the goddess of fertility and agriculture. Daughter of Saturn and Rhea, mother of Proserpine. The oldest Italian and Roman goddess of the productive forces of the Earth, cereals, and the underworld. In a number of myths, she is the goddess of motherhood and marriage. The cult of Ceres was especially widespread among the peasantry. In modern times, she was usually considered also as the personification of summer.

Ceres is depicted with ears and a sickle in his hands, which reminds of the ripening of the grain and the harvest in the middle of summer.

The statue is attributed to Thomas Quellinus on the basis of the similarity to his other works from the Summer Garden.

Another series was an allegory of the elements (all these statues have not survived). In addition to portrait busts, figures of the gods were also presented (of which Minerva has survived to this day).

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