7 June 2017
BARON PIOTR KARLOVICH KLODT VON JURGENSBURG, 1805–1867, ST PETERSBURG Ormolu, light-brown transparent patina, height of the largest 38 cm.
Another cast of the pair sold for 433,600 GBP (Sotheby's, The Russian Sale, 28 November 2006, Lot 208).
Baron Petr Klodt’s passion to represent the rebelliousness of an animal being tamed by human reason has been a prominent subject throughout the sculptor’s work. Like many of his generation he started early to work from life and closely studied and imitated masterpieces of antiquity. Later on his skills to both sculpt and cast his own models allowed for the immaculate representation of his fascination with examining every movement and muscle of a horse and human body, as seen in the offered lot.
At a rather early age, in 1831 he took part in the creation of a large sculptural group to decorate the Narva Triumphal Arch in St Petersburg and masterfully coped with it.
Klodt’s discipline and dedication were soon noticed by Nicholas I (1825– 1855) himself. Later on it was his Hourse Tamers sculptures that the Tsar deemed worthy as presents to be sent to the Prussian King William IV (1840–1861) and to the King of Two Sicilies Ferdinand II (1830–1859), they still decorate the front of the Royal Palace on Via San Carlo in Naples.
The portrayed subject remained his favourite and truly brought him international fame. The Horse Tamers, a sculptural composition of four groups remains among the most sought-after sculptures representative of the époque. Nicholas I who was famous for his military discipline and authority naturally would have liked such a powerful topic — a conflict between freedom-loving animal and a man taking control. The official opening of the new Anichkov Bridge took place on 20 November 1841 in St Petersburg and the two models have been fit on the sides. Notably, due to the sudden death of one of Klodt’s casting masters, the sculptor had to learn the new skill and he succeeded as always. Hence the two sculptures bore the inscription Sculpted and cast by Klodt.
Klodt’s last major commission was the monument to his patron, Nicholas I, which dominates St Isaac’s Square in St Petersburg. The equestrian statue of the Emperor has only two points of support, which was another brilliant master’s innovation and yet another important contribution to the history of monumental sculpture in Russia.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.