Etienne Maurice Falconet
Born: Paris – 1 December 1716
Died: Paris – 24 January 1791
One of the most celebrated sculptors of his age, Etienne Maurice Falconet bridged the gap between late baroque and neoclassical sculpture. It was to Falconet that Denis Diderot dedicated his chapter on sculpture in the Encyclopedie and several of his works are displayed in the Louvre and the State Hermitage Museum.
Today, Falconet is probably best known as the creator of the Bronze Horseman, the equestrian statue of Peter the Great that is undoubtedly St. Petersburg’s most famous monument. Falconet was recommended to Catherine the Great by Denis Diderot and Melchior Grimm, with both of whom she corresponded extensively. Falconet arrived in St. Petersburg with his family and his young assistant, Marie-Anne Collot, in 1766. It took the pair 12 years to create the Bronze Horseman, and Falconet left Russia in 1778, four years before his magnum opus was unveiled to celebrate 20 years of Catherine’s reign. He returned to Paris, where he was appointed director of the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris.
Works: Bronze Horseman (Monument to Peter I), Amour Menacant (State Hermitage Museum), Pygmalion and Galatee (State Hermitage Museum), Winter (State Hermitage Museum)
Addresses: 11, Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa (studio, 1766-1778)
Connected with: Marie-Anne Collot, Yuriy Felten