The Bronze Horseman


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Falconet's Monument to Peter the Great

Alexander M. Schenker

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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.

Alexander M. Schenker is professor emeritus of Slavic linguistics at Yale University.

“As the most thorough and intelligent study of Russia’s most famous monument, a monument executed by a French Enlightenment sculptor, the book will have wide appeal among scholars of history, literature, and art.”—William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

“[An] impressive new study. . . . This book enhances the literature on Russia’s most controversial city with its timely and elegant research.”—Rosalind P. Blakesley, Russian Review

“[A] gripping tale.”—John Keep, Times Literary Supplement

"Utterly absorbing. . . . At once a sweeping cultural history, a penetrating work of art history—and a tale as gripping as any work of fiction."—Eric Gibson, Wall Street Journal

“Mr. Schenker manages to encapsulate engagingly the history of St. Petersburg, of the Enlightenment in France, of equestrian sculpture from the Romans on, and of the engineering and casting of bronze figures, while telling the very human story of two sculptors.”—Priscilla S. Taylor, Washington Times

"The Bronze Horseman has been written for the well-read non-expert but, with its wealth of archival material from Russia, France and Italy, will also serve the scholar. . . . This work was clearly a seven-year labor of love for Schenker with its enjoyable perambulatory pace and pithy details." —Megan Swift, Slavic and Eastern European Journal

ISBN: 9780300212235
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
416 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
61 b/w illus.

Sales Restrictions: World -- in all languages except Russian (see revised agreement dated 20 December 2006)
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