On the 100th anniversary of Peter I’s ascension to the throne, the Colossus of Rhodes humbled its proud look and the Pyramids were no longer wonders. According to the little-known poet Vasily Ruban, this happened because a monument was unveiled in Saint Petersburg, which courtesy of the famous poet Pushkin became known as the Bronze Horseman. “The idol riding a bronze horse” was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet. The Horseman risked losing a head because the sculptor had a tough time casting one. Cherchez la femme — look for the woman. Falconet’s apprentice, Marie-Anne Collot, snatched the work out of the fire.
There was a particularly interesting story about the pedestal, as a monolith boulder of 1,600 or more tons was found at Lakhta, about 12 kilometers from Saint Petersburg. The local called it the Thunder Stone. It took them five months to move the stone to the Gulf of Finland using a log platform, which was pushed along two special ditches with 30 bronze spheres about 5 inches in diameter each. On the coast, the stone was loaded onto a vessel specifically built for transportation and delivered to Senate Square by sea. In honor of the amazing technical undertaking, Empress Catherine ordered a commemorative medal with the inscription saying “Daring Like.”
And for more than 200 years, “above... the River Neva stands” Catherine II’s gift to Peter I “with an outstretched hand.” And “we all feel vibrations in its bronze.” Another famous poet Alexander Blok said.