(b. 1716, Paris, d. 1791, Paris)
Monument to Peter the Great1776-77
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.