Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
St. Petersburg in Architecture Home
Map index   |   Name index   |   Thumbnail index
Click on images to enlarge  
  The Bronze Horseman
This equestrian statue of Peter the Great was created by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, 1768-82; head of Peter was designed by Falconet's pupil and mistress, Marie Colot (model in State Russian Museum). The inscription on the granite "wave" under the statue, in Latin, reads: "Peter the First. Catherine the Second. 1782." On the other side, a similar inscription is given in Russian. Catherine II the Great-a German princess married into the Romanov line and placed on the throne by the royal Guards after the death of her Romanov husband, Peter III, grandson of Peter the Great-was anxious to proclaim her legitimacy by linking her name to that of the founder of the Imperial Russian capital city. It has frequently been noted that Peter gestures to the West, the source and inspiration for his ideas of transforming Old Russia. Peter's horse tramples on a serpent, generally interpreted to stand for the backwardness of Old Russia. The equestrian statue has three points of support: the two hind legs of the horse, and the horse's tail connecting to the serpent.
© 2003 The Regents of the University of Michigan | Photos of St. Petersburg © Jack Kollmann