The Monument to the Parents

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The Monument to the Parents is one of the most interesting examples of the creation of the memorial structure of the late 18th century.

In the 1780s, Cameron created a pavilion in the form of a Roman aedicula in the remote part of the park, on the right bank of the Slavyanka river, near the Kriek hunting cabin. It is surrounded by a wall of pine trees as if separated from the surrounding nature.

The narrow and winding Philosophers path leads to it from the Triple Lime Alley, ending at the cast iron gates decorated with the mourning symbols. Entering the gates, a visitor finds themselves in a peculiar solitude in front of the monument that can only be fully perceived in a frontal view. The semicircular niche ends with a coffered vault. Its facade is covered by a classic entablature supported by two columns in the center and by two pilasters made of pink Tiudia marble at the edges.

Despite its small size, the monument produces a truly monumental impression. Initially, it was called simply the Monument. A memorial plaque “To my sister Frederica” was installed in the niche in 1785. It was dedicated to the early deceased sister of Maria Feodorovna, Duchess Schleswig-Holstein-Oldenburg by marriage.

In 1790, Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg, another sister of Maria Feodorovna, died in childbirth, and her brother, Charles of Württemberg, a hero of the Russo-Turkish war, died in 1791. Two additional memorial plaques were installed in the niche after the early deaths of her brother and sister.

Father of Maria Feodorovna, Friedrich Eugen, Duke of Württemberg, died in 1797, and her mother, Princess Friederike of Brandenburg-Schwedt, died three months later. To memorialize her parents, Maria Feodorovna orders Ivan Martos to make a memorial sculpture that was installed in the center of the aedicula in 1807. The gray marble base of the sculpture is decorated by three bas-reliefs: the central one depicts the afterlife meeting of the Duke and Duchess of Württemberg, the left one depicts Mars, the god of war, calling Charles of Württemberg on a military feat, while Saturn, the god of time, points to the palm of immortality, and the right one depicts the heavenly ascension of the souls of Elizabeth and Frederica. A red granite pyramid stands on the base, with a medallion depicting profiles of the parents. Above them, there are two urns of destiny partially covered by a cloth. A female figure in a royal crown bowed her head sorrowfully. On the other hand, there is a winged daemon, the silent witness of the Royal wife's sorrow, tearing down the cloth from the urns. Marble plaques with inscriptions are mounted on the walls on both sides of the sculpture. On the left side, there is one plaque: “To my sister Frederica, day 15 of November 1783”. On the right side, there are two plaques: “To my sister Elisabeth, day 7 of February 1790” and “To my brother Charles, day 11 of August 1791”. There is an inscription “To the Parents” at the temple pediment.

In 1801, an antique marble altar with fixed flat marble base was installed before the monument (today, the altar is being exhibited in the Temple of Friendship).

In 2017, the monument underwent the complex restoration process.

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