Continuing the theme of the creation of the Summer Garden, today we are talking about sculpture.
In the alleys, in the green niches of the tapestries, in the open areas of the garden, in front of the palace buildings, there were many marble statues and busts. This sculptural decoration was an unusual innovation for Russia, since in the pre-Petrine era, religious themes and subjects prevailed in Russian fine art, and monumental secular sculpture had not yet been created. In the west, sculptural decoration was an indispensable element of the landscape of a regular garden, and Peter did not want to deviate from the general rule. To decorate the Summer Garden, the parks of Peterhof, Strelna and other palace and park ensembles, on his instructions, the best works of garden sculpture of that time were purchased in Italy and delivered to Russia. Over 150 marble statues and busts adorned only the front part of the garden on the Neva.
In 1717-1724, most of the largest Venetian works of the late 17th – early 18th centuries by D. Zorzoni, D. Nazza, F. Cabianca, D. Groppelli, A. Tarsia, and a number of unknown authors were purchased. “Cupid and Psyche”, “Nemesis”, “Cepepa”, “Night” and many other statues of great artistic value adorn the Summer Garden even now.
The marble sculpture of the Summer Garden served not only as its decoration, it was called upon in allegorical form to glorify the socio-political events of that time, the transformative activity of Peter I, and to promote secular culture. So, on purpose, in memory of the victory over Sweden in the Northern War, the sculpture “Peace and Abundance”, or “Nystad Peace” was commissioned for the Summer Garden.
The author of the composition is the famous Italian sculptor P. Baratta. Currently, the Peace and Abundance group is located near the northern facade of the Summer Palace. The Summer Garden was the richest museum of garden and park sculpture of the early 18th century. Despite the vicissitudes of the times, a significant part of this most interesting collection of Peter I has survived to this day and adorns the shady alleys of the green massif on the banks of the Neva.
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