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St. Petersburg: Anichkov Bridge
August 21, 2016 11:42


 Anichkov Bridge is the most significant Bridge of St. Petersburg, besides the Palace Bridge. First of all it is a "bridge of four horses" and moreover it is one of the best view points of Nevsky Prospekt. At this point the direction of the Fontanka smoothly curved, the panoramic embankments are extended in both directions, and a rare sky, air and freedom feeling occurs here in densely built center. It seems so far. Even those who are in a hurry will walk involuntarily slow on the Anichkov Bridge.

Here are always artists, photographers, tourists strolling citizens, as well as curious citizens seeking evidence of popular legend - if under the tail of one of the horses, the sculptor has depicted the face of Napoleon. Klodt composition is called "Horse Tamers" - four groups of figures in different poses. Most often, they look exactly like the one on four separate pairs of "horse-tamer." But in fact, Klodt created something like a sculpture comics or cartoon storyboard: a horse and a naked tamer at different stages of the movement.

The first group is one on the west bank of the Fontanka River, on the right side of the bridge, when facing the Admiralty Needle. In this pair wins man: he firmly but controls abutting horse. The second group is on the same side, on the left side of the bridge. The horse is already beating and shows the teeth, and tamer figure is tenses and "twisted".

Next frame is on the opposite side, on the eastern bank. The horse reared up and nearly broke; a tamer overturned on the ground and barely holds the reins. And the final scene: the young athlete still tames a horse, standing on one knee and pulled the headrope with both hands.


 On the place of the modern Anichkov bridge few wooden temporary bridges were replaced and the first of them appeared in 1715. Tsar Peter did not like bridges, eager to teach the population of the capital to the movement of the water, but at this point the land crossing was necessary.

The name "Anichkov", contrary to the romantic legend, came from family name of engineer-colonel Anichkov commanding a battalion of workers. The bridge was of pile, it was rebuilt and strengthened three times. During the reign of Anna Petrovna the elephants passed on it on their way to the zoo Elephant courtyard on the Fontanka. At the end of the XVIII century the Fontanka was rebuilt in granite and bridges of the same type were built: three-span, movable and with turrets on the sides. The central drawbridge was of wooden.

However, these bridges were too narrow, and in 1841 the Anichkov bridge was required to be extended to the "red line" of the avenue. The reconstruction was controlled and led by the engineer fon Dershau. Thus all spans were made as arched and the turrets were removed. At the same time there was a cast-iron openwork lattice with a bas-relief of the sea horses and mermaids.

At the same time there was a cast-iron openwork lattice with a bas-relief of the sea horses and mermaids. For a long time is was attributed to Alexander Briullov, but in fact it is a copy of the lattice Palace Bridge in Berlin, designed by the architect Karl Schinkel. Pyotr Klodt started working on the "tamer of horses" in 1833. First, it was assumed that there would be two pairs of sculptural groups - identical on both sides of the bridge.

"Tamers" on the west coast appeared in 1841, and the temporary plaster statues, painted in bronze took their seats in front of them. The work lasted for twenty years, also because the finished sculptures were sent abroad by the royal order – first time to the King of Prussia in Berlin, then to the King of the Two Sicilies in Naples. As a result, Klodt decided not to repeat the finished statues and he decided to carve a couple of new statues that completed the composition at the eastern bank. They were erected in 1851.

At the beginning of the XX century the bridge was rebuilt again as shortcomings threatening the design were revealed. At the same time the appearance has not been changed. The architect Shchusev supervised the works. During the Great Patriotic War the sculptural groups were removed from the pedestals and buried in the garden of the Anichkov Palace. The bridge itself was badly damaged. In 2000 the horses left the bridge for the second time in the history of the bridge because of restoration. 



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Anichkov Bridge St. Petersburg    

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