||Sculptural Portrait of Peter I
This bronze bust of Peter I is perhaps the most perfect work of Rastrelli, an Italian who is often largely attributed with the birth of modern Russian sculpture. The portrait is unique in that the artist used a wax mask taken of the Emperor's face in 1719. It is rich in the devices typical of the Baroque style - the sharp turn of the head, an ermine mantle and an impression of hair tossed backward by a strong wind, a lace scart streaming in the wind - all contributing to a depiction of firmness, energy, character and power. The bust was cast in 1723 and later chased and engraved by the engraver Semange under the careful observation of Bartolomeo Rastrelli himself.