FALCONET, Étienne-Maurice
(b. 1716, Paris, d. 1791, Paris)

Monument to Peter the Great

1776-77
Bronze
St. Petersburg

Falconet was, with Pigalle, the favourite sculptor of Mme de Pompadour. His masterpiece is the statue of Peter the Great commissioned by Catherine II for St. Petersburg. This work breaks away from the traditional equestrian statue: here the horse is rearing up on a rock. The sovereign, in heroic garb, is shown as a law-maker, a reformer. His face was sculpted by Marie-Anne Collot, a pupil of Falconet. The monument is theatrical but simple in conception, devoid of allegory except for the crushed snake.