Statue of Nicholas I is doing on St. Isaac’s Square

The history of St. Petersburg: what the equestrian statue of Nicholas I is doing on St. Isaac’s Square

Auguste Montferrand, who designed the statue, did his best. As, however, and Peter Klodt – his equestrian statues on the Anichkov Bridge are generally famous all over the world.

Nicholas I is tall, handsome and slender, an excellent rider, a professional soldier. He ate and drank little, slept half his life on a solid camp bed (by the way, he died on it) and tried to restore order in the country.

Restoration of the monument
Restoration of the monument

A gorgeous horse, an impassive rider …

The sculptor suffered for a long time with the model – a static horse standing on 4 legs did not satisfy him, and the prancing horse was not according to the rules. Alexander II was silent about the horse, he did not like something else – either the helmet did not fit, or the boots did not look that way …

The monument turned out to be unique – only 2 points of support still cause trembling in the audience, this is the first such statue in Europe. And at the moment of the opening of the monument, everyone just gasped – and waited for the horse’s legs to break.

The equestrian statue has not been restored since its installation, and this is 160 years! True, in 1930 they wanted to dismantle it – they did not like the tsars in the Soviet state. Art critics were able to prove that this is a monument primarily of engineering thought. We defended it.

Then they wanted to replace the emperor with Budyonny or Frunze. Again we defended. The monument survived the war and the blockade. Yes, they covered them – but they resisted! And only now a crack in the pedestal indicated that it was time to pay attention to it.

Statue of Nicholas I
Statue of Nicholas I

Have you ever wondered why it was installed here?

Yes, everything is clear about Peter and the connection between generations. And still? After all, nothing is done just like that …

If you look around, you can understand that although they began to build St. Isaac’s Cathedral under Alexander I, they finished under Nicholas I. And the Manege of the Horse Guards regiment is nearby, and the regiment was quartered nearby – and after all, it was his chief that Nicholas was. The Mariinsky Palace, located on the square, was donated by the emperor to his daughter, Maria Nikolaevna.

And we must also remember that the uprising of the Decembrists, suppressed by the emperor, took place on Senate Square, very close.