The Bronze Horseman, which I love to use in my pictures, is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in St Petersburg, gaining its name from Pushkin’s poem in 1833. The bronze statue sits on a pedestal also known as the Thunder Stone (aka ‘largest stone ever moved by man’) from the Gulf of Finland. The pedestal is made of a single piece of red granite shaped like a cliff where Peter rules Russia; his horse steps on a snake, representing the crushing of enemies. It seemed appropriate that a popularly-known ruler stood as the symbol of the country, having expanded the Tsardom of Russia extensively. The statue, created by French sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet, showed the outstanding reformer as a hero.
Yet with a turn of the head in a new century, Mikhail Shemiakin created another statue of Peter the Great sitting in a chair, exhibiting no resemblance to what we know of as Peter the Great. This statue contradicted the heroic figure, now presented as a tall, seated figure with a strange sense of serenity. Some have supposedly called it the “Stay-at-home” statue of Peter the Great. While the former was revered, the latter became a good-luck charm – visitors noticed the bright hands and legs of the statue and began to touch it for good luck.
Interesting, isn’t it? Share some stories with me if you know more about this! 🙂