Tsar Peter the Great (1997) Leonid Baranov

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

This statue represents the Russian tsar Peter the Great and was specially made for the Netherlands by the Russian sculptor Leonid Baranov. In 1997, the year of Tsar Peter the Great, the Russian government presented it to the Netherlands as a token of appreciation for the 300 years of relations between the two countries. Tsar Peter the Great was in the Netherlands for a year in 1697 when he studied Dutch shipbuilding. That is why he has now been given a suitable place to look out over the water. The elegant tsar statue is more than life-size at 2.70 meters. The tsar is stretched, especially in length: just look at his upper body and fingers. The face is detailed with a fine mustache and eyebrows, yet it is difficult to tell what kind of look he has in his eyes: pensive, expectant or strict. The statue is made entirely of bronze, but the different parts have a different color. His head and hands and also his stockings are light yellow in color, while the jacket and shoes are dark, for example. This is because Baranov worked the bronze in different ways. There is also a difference in the processing of the 'skin' of the image. The texture of the cloth jacket, for example, is clearly rougher than the smoothly polished stockings. The surface of the image has been processed differently there to give it a different texture. For example, small holes have been made in the shawl and cuffs to create the suggestion of lace. These details give the image a surreal impression.

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About the artist

Leonid Baranov (Moscow, Russia, 1943) studied in Moscow at the art academy in the 1960s, where Socialist Realism was taught. In that style he has since portrayed his main theme: great Russian heroes and other highlights from glorious Russian history.