The Park Sculpture
For more than two centuries the regular part of the Catherine Park has been adorned by marble statues and busts created by Venetian sculptors of the early eighteenth century – Giovanni Bonazza, Pietro Baratta, Alvise Tagliapietra, Bartolomeo Modolo, Giuseppe Zeminiani, Giovanni Zorzoni and Antonio Tarsia.
The sculpture to beautify the reworked garden in front of the Catherine Palace – the Regular Park -- was brought to Tsarskoye Selo in the mid-1700s from St Petersburg, chiefly from the Summer Garden. It came from the collection that had been acquired in Peter the Great’s time.
The statues of mythological personages (Perseus and Andromeda, Hercules, Mars and others), allegories (Military Valour; Patriotism; Wisdom trampling on Vice; Magnificence; Peace; the months and seasons) were commissioned by Peter to glorify Russia’s victories and to instruct and educate his subjects, but acquired a purely decorative role in the garden of his daughter, Empress Elizabeth.
Nowadays works of Venetaian sculptors can be seen by the main and garden entrances to the Catherine Palace and also along the chief alley of the Old Garden.
Under Catherine II bronze busts and statues were placed on the Cameron Gallery, the portico of the Agate Rooms, the Ramp and in the Hanging Garden. These were copies of the most outstanding (by the standards of the time) works of ancient sculpture produced in the 1780s and 1790s mainly from models and casts brought from Italy by Ivan Shuvalov and Nikolai Yusupov. The casting was done in the Imperial Academy of Arts by the master-founders Gastecloux and Mozhalov under the supervision of the sculpture professor Fiodor Gordeyev. Besides that bronze copies were made of four allegorical busts by Lambert-Sigisbert Adam and of Canova’s Genius of Death and casts made of portraits of the Russian polymath Mikhail Lomonosov (by Fedot Shubin) and the British statesman Charles James Fox (by Nollekens). Among the mythological personages, ancient generals, poets, philosophers and Roman emperors Catherine placed two likenesses of her own contemporaries, thus granting them a special honour. On the Cameron Gallery there are also busts cast by V. Yekimov in the 1790s from models by Concesio Albani.
In the 1930s works by the mid-nineteenth-century Russian sculptors Brodzsky and Zabello were set up in the Private Garden of the Catherine Park along with a copy of Canova’s Dancers.
Mention should be made of the losses of the Second World War: at that time Tsarskoye Selo was deprived of colossal bronze statues of Niobe and her daughter and a sleeping Ariadne from the Flower Garden by the Cameron Gallery and also of a bust of Emperor Titus and a statue of Catherine II in the guise of Ceres.