Monument to Peter I in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Monument to Peter I

The Russian city of Saint Petersburg was named after its founder, Peter I the Great. So it’s no coincidence that several statues featuring Peter can be found throughout the city, although this one may be the most unique. 

Designed by Russian sculptor Mikhail Chemiakin in the 1980s and cast in bronze in the United States, the “Monument to Peter I” was donated to the city by Chemiakin. Its body is much larger than the statues’ head, somewhat resembling the “Henry the Hunter” character from the 1988 film Beetlejuice.

The statue stands (or sits) at 7 feet and 5 inches tall including the granite base. As expected, the grotesque sculpture was heavily criticized by locals when it was installed in 1991. It was typically guarded to prevent acts of vandalism.

Despite its disproportionate figure, visitors may notice that the statue’s head is quite lifelike. It was designed after the life mask of Peter I crafted by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1719, who would later go on to create the emperor’s wax figure. According to Chemiakin, the statue’s elongated body was inspired by Russian icons.

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