Sometime in one of the first days of August, usually the first day off, lovers of antiquity necessarily gathered next to him to mark the anniversary of the installation of the monument to Peter the Great on Senate Square in St. Petersburg.
Now, the tradition is remembered only in the anniversary years, but the next anniversary must be waited for another fifteen years. Probably, this is a sign of time, that today no one is afraid of him, as Pushkin's Eugene was afraid of.
A. Benoit's illustration of Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman is considered a textbook
It seems that the St. Petersburg people of Leningrad have already finished their all in the terrible days of the Blockade. But, as before, they admire Falconet Peter, more often - they simply love them, affectionately calling them “Petrusha”. After the very same 900 days in the city, they are treated somehow warmer, more humane.
Against its background, brides are now regularly photographed, while the grooms, while opening up champagne, are certainly aiming for the royal horse. Dashing bombs on Nevsky, ready to tear off three skins from anyone, even from foreigners, in order to ride “straight to Peter”, take no more than five hundred.
Against its background, it was fashionable to photograph at all times.
Russia cannot complain about the lack of monuments to Peter the Great. There was a time when only Ilyich were sculpted, but even then a copy of the excellent Rastrelli bust was set right at the Moscow railway station.
Then they returned to the Admiralteyskaya Embankment of the Tsar-Carpenter, right there Zurab Tsereteli in the Throned Hall stomped on, and shemyakinsky, actually a nice half-corpse, was seated in the middle of Petropavlovka. However, brides are not indifferent to him either - knees are rubbed to a mirror shine. So, caught on.
But Peter falconet - one. He is not just different - Peter I himself was different, somehow he does not fit into the series of predecessors and successors on the Russian throne. Thanks to Catherine for rejecting the once-finished equestrian monument of Carlo Rastrelli - he would not have taken root on the banks of the Neva and could hardly coexist so comfortably next to the miracle of Montferrand.
Or maybe Montferrand, if it weren't for the Bronze Horseman, wouldn't you give us such an Isaac? He is the “Bronze Horseman” - you cannot say better than the poet, although today the wits, of course, would have called the monument to Peter somehow different.
So, no matter how hard Tsereteli and Shemyakin tried to indulge with Falconet's ingenious creation, their monuments immediately received from the people a whole set of epithets, sometimes contemptuous, and sometimes just killer. "Bald stump" or "Stool". Just "Monster" or "Who has never seen the sea?" And in response - "Who, who ... Peter in a leather coat." And much more in the same vein.
Choose what you like, but they don’t and never will be equal to Pushkin’s “nickname.” There will be no other monument, truly worthy of the memory of the great converter of Russia.
“The creator, the transformer, the legislator” - so simply and briefly about Peter at Etienne Falcone. And how many things at once in these three words. Each next ruler left from which to choose. But first chose Catherine.
She only settled on the throne. Reigns only three years. She needs visible evidence of the legitimacy of her own power. But she is patient - hard, frozen, like the Italian condottieres, the monument to Carlo Rastrelli Catherine immediately rejected. Peter woke Russia, his successor on the throne is not such as to let her fall asleep again.
And the monument to Catherine was needed to match the great deeds of the great king, who had ... great heirs. And with Rastrelli, the sovereign seemed to have achieved everything, and this is the sovereign of the state, which almost no longer needs anything.
Catherine's Russia needs everything and a lot, even a lot. The monument to Peter should become a fat point in a whole series of imperial symbols created by the will of a restless empress. She is patiently looking for a sculptor worthy of such a task. There is someone to ask for advice - after all, from a young age, while still a Grand Duchess, Catherine entered into correspondence with the best minds of Europe.
Encyclopaedist Diderot and prompted - Etienne-Maurice Falcone. Didro, one might say, guessed - from the work of the fifty-year-old Falcone really only “Milon of Croton” and “Pygmalion” really turned out. But as a theoretician, he divided all the "antiques" under the nut, to which cultural Europe was accustomed to bow without a doubt.
Maurice Etienne Falcone. Bust by Marie-Anne Collot, sculpted to the head of Peter I
However, shortly before the St. Petersburg order, Falcone performed two choirs in the Paris church of Saint Roch. They fascinated the Russian ambassador, Prince Golitsyn, who supported Diderot.
Falcone is older than the Russian Tsarina and also patient, it was not by chance that he was allowed to tinker with the monument for a decade and a half. However, they were able to wait and endure then. Only to transport the pedestal from “Lakhta” - “Thunder-stone”, the whole season left. From a technical point of view, the operation today would be difficult, and in the 18th century it would be simply unique (Read).
Neither Sanssouci, nor Versailles, nor Schönbrunn could afford anything like that. And how much time was spent on the choice of the pedestal, and it took almost a whole winter to convince high-profile critics - only the correspondence of Falcone and the president of the Russian Academy of Arts Ivan Betsky is two thick archival volumes.
Falcone with his ambitions turned out to be surprisingly modest - he did not hesitate to entrust the disciple of the head of the king to his student Marie-Anne Collo. In those days, the case is unheard of. But, too, as Diderot, guessed right. Kollo didn’t copy Peter’s tone-mask of the teacher’s work or Rastrelli’s life-time bust, solving the task as a true monumentalist.
The main thing is to catch the character and not enter into discord with the equestrian statue itself. Eyes bulging, volumetric forehead framed by thick, like waves, strands, a clear tension of will on the face, the chin advanced forward - it would seem a banal set of well-known features, but in general - a unique impression.
Here there is an angry determination, and the ability to pardon, here both wisdom, and simplicity, severity and calmness at the same time. It is known that Falcone has a lot of “rules” of Kollo, but in the end unity is undoubtedly a pity that only connoisseurs now remember the role of a student.
Catherine chose "her" Petra, talked a lot about him, wrote, but at the very monument she noted very succinctly: "PETRO primo CATHARINA secunda". And in Russian: “Peter the Great Catherine the Second. Summer 1782.
Since then, Falconet Peter has been haunted by many. Inspired by Pushkin. Nervous Emperor Paul so easily got, not standing on Senatskaya Square and two decades. And Pavel, only ascended to the throne, at the peak of his mother, he mounted another equestrian statue of Peter at the Mikhailovsky Castle. The works of Carlo Rastrelli are the same that the great empress once rejected. Ambitious Pradudnu Pravnuk. 1800 »- also inscribed in the peak of Catherine.
The younger son of Pavel, Nicholas, is as nervous as his father, but with a much colder reason, without undue hesitation, he ordered to release a portion of buckshot to the brass Peter, and at the same time to the Decembrists.
They say that its traces can still be seen at the breaks of the Thunder-stone. Neither in the three Revolutions, nor in the Civil Revolutions, has anyone raised a hand against Peter. And later, the fascist aces of the Luftwaffe were aiming at Peter - they did not hit even once.
Pushkin let in the mystics, but the cold Nikolai Pavlovich, “shooting” Peter, immediately chose the image of the Tsar-Stoic. The Bronze Horseman was often compared with the Roman Roman Aurelius, although Falconet considered this statue an example of how not to make equestrian monuments.
Under Tsar-Liberator Alexander II, Peter the Great, they “served” the public as a reformer and almost a liberal, but at the same time decorated the flowers with a la Russian tricolor. Alexander III and his loser-son pressed on the “nationality” of Peter Alekseevich, arranging skating rinks and festivities on Senatskaya Square. The Slavophiles liked the formula very much: "The great leader of a great nation."
After October, 17, no one, of course, voiced it in relation to Peter. But under Stalin, when the “Peter the Great” red light of Tolstoy saw the light, it was this interpretation that was meant as if by itself.
If the tyrant Ivan the Terrible, the genius of Sergei Eisenstein and the brilliant play of Nikolai Cherkasov, were presented as a fighter against the boyar bureaucracy, then God Himself ordered Peter the Great to be turned into a “national king”. And no one after the "leader of the peoples" has forgotten this formula. Still…
Works of sculpture in something akin to warships. A real masterpiece, as a worthy opponent, is recognized by its silhouette. But the captains have been studying catalogs with the contours of enemy cruisers and destroyers for years, and the Bronze Horseman remains in memory immediately and forever. However, in sculpture as well as silhouette, the gesture is also important.
“Russia reared up” - about the monument as a whole, that says it all. But the hand, stretched over the waves of the Neva? "Beneficial Hand", "Fatherly Hand." How long and hard Pushkin picks up the epithets - “Raising a hand from above”, “A giant with a prostrated hand”, “Threatening with a motionless hand”! In the very gesture - the focus of power, mind, will. But not only - Peter's hand - as a new vector for the new Russia.
"Window to Europe" - it seems to be said, and the point. To the West - towards Europe. To be not just close to be together. To be a worthy part of it. And there is no need to look for any inferiority complexes.
Lev Gumilev was absolutely right - we are Eurasia, not Azeop. Azeop is "beautiful" said another historian, Pavel Milyukov. He said two hundred years after Peter, as if everything he had bequeathed, derailed.
It is not surprising that the “temporary” with the Minister of Foreign Affairs kompleksovali in front of Europe, it is not surprising that they, “temporary”, so easily swept by the Bolsheviks. The Urals is not a joke of geography, but our common frontier with Europe.
“Eurasia is not Azeop,” Peter could have said long before Gumilyov. He did not say - he did everything to make it so!