The bronze deer that used to decorate the Deer Bridge in the Pavlovsk Park in St. Petersburg vicinity disappeared in 1928. Decades later, copies of the original sculptures took their place.
Saint-Petersburg TV Channel reporter Tatiana Bazhenova tells the story of the deer.
Two of the four bronze deer were made in Uzbekistan, and two in St. Petersburg. The grown-up animals look west, and the young ones east.
Their predecessors were made in the 19th century after the models by the German sculptor Christian Rauch and brought to Pavlovsk, an imperial residence at that time, by Grand Duke Nikolay Konstantinovich, a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I and a cousin of Alexander III. The sculptures remained in their place until the late 1920s, and then disappeared.
Vera Dementieva, Director of Pavlovsk Museum, takes a guess: ‘I believe the answer is simple. In 1928, the young Soviet power was short of both money and metal. This way Pavlovsk lost its grid, and, most likely, the deer were used the same way.’
Deer sculptures made after the same models by Rauch were found in Tashkent, where Nikolay Konstantinovich had a palace. Uzbek masters made copies of them, and the republic gave them as a present for Russia.
Vera Dementieva tells: ‘There are four deer sculptures in front of the former palace of Nikolay Konstantinovich. As all the deer were made after the same models, we asked to make copies for us, and make them a present. Because bronze deer are really expensive.’
The two sculptures of the young deer made in Tashkent weigh 400 kilograms each. The grown-up deer made in St. Petersburg are heavier, they weigh 550 kilograms each.
Vladislav Manachinsky, sculptor, explains: ‘We had a sculpture from Uzbekistan, which we used as a model adding and changing details to make it look like a grown-up animal.’
Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel