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

Monument to Peter the Great

St. Petersburg

In 1766 Diderot managed to get Falconet invited to Russia, where he stayed until 1779, working on one of the most amazing monuments of the century - the equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg. Perched on an enormous block of stone pointing toward the Neva like a ship's prow, the bucking horse, reined in by the impassive rider, represents a great moment in statuary. Although the "bronze rider" was a standard equestrian figure found in every European capital, based on antique models and regularly reinvigorated since the Renaissance, Falconet's remains the boldest example, with a power that conveys a hint of Romanticism.