Address: Admiralteyskaya embankment
Sculptor: L.A. Bernstamm
Opening date: June 14th, 1910
Initiated and commissioned by: Nicholas II
Hardworking Peter, Who Loves His Job and Loves to Learn
Nicholas II’s reign sees a record number of new monuments to Peter I. This mostly has to do with the turn of the century anniversaries: bicentennials of cities founded by Peter, his feats and conquests. That said, it is widely known that Nicholas was not very fond of his great ancestor, as he considered his reforms too radical and not always appropriate. Perhaps, this is why through Nicholas’s efforts there came to be so many “low-key” monuments, bringing back to memory an event or a personality trait, without setting value upon the grandeur and immensity of the politician and government leader.
So, two sculptures by Nicholas’s favorite sculptor, Leopold Bernstamm, were placed opposite the Admiralty: Tsar Peter I Learning Shipbuilding in Saenredam, Holland, 1697 and Peter I Rescuing Seamen during a Flood There is not one word about great achievements, only the idealization of personal qualities: diligence and courage. In the course of his trip to Europe Peter really did study shipbuilding at a wharf in Saenredam. However, his incognito was quickly discovered, and he had to leave his studies. The monument presents and image of an enthusiastic
Peter, who loves what he does and enjoys it. Nicholas gave a replica of the monument to the Dutch city of Zaandam (formerly Saenredam). In Soviet times both monuments by the Admiralty were destroyed and remelted as they were considered to have no artistic value. It was in 1996 that the Dutch gave a replica of their replica to Petersburg to honor the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the navy. For me, another set of symbols comes to the foreground in this case: in the 90’s we were ready to learn from Europe again, to adopt its practices, to catch up to it, and once again, just like in Peter’s times, wanted to become a part of the world of developed countries.