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December 12 , 2008

Bronze Horseman: Falconet's Monument to Peter the Great


This book is the first comprehensive treatment in any language of the most consequential work of art ever to be executed in Russia – the equestrian monument to Peter the Great, or The Bronze Horseman, as it has come to be known since it appeared in Alexander Pushkin's poem bearing that title. The author deals with the cultural setting that prepared the ground for the monument and provides life stories of those who were involved in its creation: the sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet and Marie-Anne Collot, the engineer Marin Carburi, the diplomat Dmitry Golitsyn, and Catherine's "commissar" for culture, Ivan Betskoi. He also touches upon the extraordinary resonance of the monument in Russian culture, which, since the unveiling in 1782, has become the icon of St. Petersburg and has alimented the so-called "St. Petersburg theme" in Russian letters, familiar from the works of such writers as Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bely.

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