MONUMENT TO PETER I AT THE ENGINEERING CASTLE
The Italian sculptor Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli began work on the equestrian monument to Peter I in 1716, immediately after his arrival in Russia. The creation of an equestrian monument, imitating the monuments of the ancient Romans, was one of the first orders of the Russian tsar. The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Roman Capitol served as a prototype for it. As early as 1717, a small lead model was cast and sent on Peter’s orders to the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belle Literature in Paris to compose a Latin text that was supposed to be placed on a pedestal.
However, Peter I died before he could give orders to cast statues in bronze. The work of the sculptor in making models was paid for in 1734, during the reign of Anna Ioannovna, but the order to cast in bronze was given by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna in 1743. In October-November 1744, the sculptor managed to make a colossal wax model for casting, but 18 ( On November 29 of the same year, Rastrelli died.
The son of the sculptor, the architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli, took over the further management of the work. The casting of the statue was carried out in November 1747 by master A. Martelli, who until 1755 continued chasing, distinguished by virtuoso thoroughness. Rastrelli presented the emperor as if surveying the new capital. The figure of Peter strikes with power. He is dressed in military armor, on his feet are Roman sandals and knee pads in the form of lion half masks. A mantle with embossed coats of arms is thrown over the chest over the shoulders. With his left hand he holds the reins of a mighty horse, with his right hand he holds the commander’s rod.
There were projects to install an equestrian monument on the square near the building of the Twelve Colleges or in front of the one built by B.F. Rastrelli Winter Palace. The completed statue was transported to the Trinity Bridge, where it stood under a wooden canopy for 45 years.
Catherine II did not like the monument, and in 1766 the sculptor E. Falcone began work on a new monument to Peter. Only in August 1798, Paul I ordered the sculpture to be installed in Kronstadt, at the entrance to the Petrovsky Dock, but later appointed a new place – the square in front of the Mikhailovsky Castle, which was under construction.
The projects of the pedestal of the monument were developed by architects A.N. Voronikhin, V. Brenna and F.I. Volkov. The inscription on the end of the pedestal “To the great-grandfather / Great-grandson / 1800” was probably composed by Paul I himself. The bronze reliefs on the sides of the monument – “The Battle of Poltava” (on the east side) and “The Capture of Frigates at Gangut” (on the west) – were made by sculptors V.I. Demut-Malinovsky, I.I. Terebenev and I.E. Moiseev.
The monument in front of the Mikhailovsky Castle was erected in 1800 and became the second monument to Peter I in St. Petersburg – after the “Bronze Horseman” by Falcone, solemnly opened in 1782.
During the blockade of Leningrad, a bronze statue taken from the pedestal was preserved in a pit dug next to the pedestal.