Atlantes of the Hermitage

Atlantes of the Hermitage, public art, Russia

Public Art: Atlantes of the Hermitage

Sculptor: © Alexander Terebenev (1815- 31st July, 1859) with the help of 150 masons.

Designed by: Johann Halbig

Description: Ten 5 meter high monolithic granite Atlantes holding up the portico at the New Hermitage building in Russia.

Date Unveiled: 1849

Location: The Portico and Atlantes are located on Millionnaya Street at the historical entrance to the New Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Atlantes of the Hermitage, Alexander Terebenev, New Hermitage, public artThings You May Not Know About The Hermitage Atlantes:

In 1945 Terebenev was commissioned by the New Hermitage to create ten granite Atlantes for the portico of the new building after presenting clay models of his concept.

The grey Serdobol granite was quarried near the shores of Lake Onega.

Alexander Terebenev only worked on the faces of the Atlantes leaving the 150 assistants and masons to finish the specific parts assigned to them.

The figures were carved on the ground floor of the Small Hermitage.

On three of the ten statues Terebenev has carved "Alexander Terebenev 1849".

Emperor Nicholas I was so pleased with the end result of the Atlantes he presented Alexander Terebenev  with a diamond ring. The Hermitage also awarded him the Order of St. Anne's III and a substantial bonus.

Emperor Nicholas I gifted an identical Atlas sculpture by Terebenev to Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm.

Tragic Demise of Terebenev: Terebenev was not good with money and as soon as it came into his possession it was spent, forcing him to often sell his possessions. He also liked to hold extravagant parties and with this he began to drink.  Unfortunately the Hermitage were not amused and sacked him from the position of head of sculptural works without so much as a pension. He was forced to sell his house and eventually went bankrupt. To make matters worse, in 1858 Terebenev and his wife contracted smallpox, leading to her death.  Sadly, a year later the poverty stricken Terebenev died from a cold in Obukhov hospital . One of the stonemasons, who he had trained, paid for his burial at Volkovskoe Orthodox Cemetery.

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