The bas-reliefs of the Summer Palace/Letny Sad in St. Petersburg

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The main decoration of the Summer Palace.

Twenty-nine bas-reliefs made of terracotta are located between the windows of the first and second floors. Sea, water expanses with the image of Peter galleys-the usual background; widely used symbolism and allegory. Mythological stories of bas-reliefs, which are now perceived as distracted, in previous time were associated with concrete events. Above the main entrance, a bas-relief "Minerva, surrounded by the spoils of war" is placed. Here, next to the composition: sea god Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite are on chariot with the three sea horses. Their location at the main entrance says about the significance of the disclosures: victory in the Northern War and the return of Russian power over the sea.

On the north facade there is a bas-relief "Latona and the Lycian peasants", which was made not on high level. According to the myth, the goddess Latona with children - Apollo and Diana - came to the village of the Lycian peasants and asked to drink. The peasants refused her and they were turned into frogs then. On the western facade, that faces toward the garden there is a bas-relief "Perseus and Andromeda". Andromeda symbolized Russian land seized by the Swedes, Perseus - Peter liberator. Next placed schematically and flatness made bas-relief "Apollo and Daphne".

According to ancient myth, Daphne was transformed into a tree by the gods fleeing from Apollo persecution. Interestingly, Russian galley of Peter's time can be seen in the background side of bas-relief. There is number of bas-reliefs reflect with image of the myths about rape of Europa by Jupiter, the struggle of Perseus with Medusa, the abduction of Proserpine by Pluto and the others, in varying degrees, symbolizing the Russian victory in the Northern War, the power of Russia over the sea. According to craftsmanship, not all bas-reliefs of the Summer Garden/Letny sad are equal.  We know that Schlüter was charged making them, but death prevented him to do the job completely. The names of master artists are still unknown. However, they were several because of the various quality. Among the bas-reliefs of the Summer Garden/Letny sad is common image of a dolphin. In Akimov “Iconological lexicon”, which was popular at the beginning of the XVIII century, said: "Sea silence speaks through dolphin, because he swims only during calm weather."

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