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Photographer's Note

This 300-foot (90-meter) statue of Peter the Great towers over the western end of an island in the Moscow River, just across from the Sculpture Park (see the workshop) and the State Tretyakovskaya Gallery. The sixth largest statue in the world according to some lists, it was created by the Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.

There is a lot of controversy about this statue. According to most sources I've checked, it was either originally intended to be a statue of Columbus for the 500 anniversary of his arrival in the Americas, or else was based on models for that statue. Tseretili had planned to donate this work the United States, but we, for some strange reason, were not interested. Certainly that would explain the set of ships that Peter is standing on - they represent the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. it doesn't explain why Peter - or Columbus, or whoever - is dressed in a Roman toga, though. My guide told me she had recently watched a Discovery channel (or the Russian equivalent) program showing how the statue's head had been morphed from Columbus to Peter, so that the sculptor could make it acceptable to the Russians.

Except that it is not acceptable to Muscovites. The mayor of Moscow was a good friend of the artist's and wanted the statue, but a lot of other people had different ideas (see this article for example). Peter the Great is, after all, the tsar who moved the capital of Russia from Moscow to his new city of St. Petersburg, and Moscow has never forgotten it.

Anyway, the statue is up, and it would cost too much to take it down, so there it stands. It is so out of place, though, that when I first saw it, I couldn't help bursting out in laughter.

smartcat, markogts, dlevy23, avene, feather, zmey has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Daniel Kohanski (Wandering_Dan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 930 W: 150 N: 1023] (3449)
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