The equestrian statue of Nicholas I in St. Petersburg by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg was unveiled in 1859. The statue was a technical wonder of its time, being one of the first equestrian statues with only two support points: the rear feet of the horse. At the personal request of his successor Alexander II, Nicholas was represented as a prancing knight, “in the military outfit in which the late tsar was most majestic”. The impressive and heavily decorated pedestal gave much food for dispute. The Bolsheviks, who destroyed all the memorials to Nicholas I across Russia, did not dare to demolish this unique statue. The monument’s technical proficiency was cited as a reason why this statue, as the only one from a cluster of outdoor sculptures representing 19th century Russian royalty, survived the Soviet period virtually intact.
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