«Samson» of Peterhof and his Legendary Journey

The central sculpture in the Grand Cascade of Peterhof Palace – Samson tearing open the jaws of a lion – was returned to its stand in the Lower Gardens in the middle of April after three months of absence. Last December the sculpture was taken off its stand for the first time since 1947 and sent to refurbishment.

Samson took a solemn «walk» to Peterhof along the whole city from Vasilyevsky Island where he underwent double plating by gold leaf in restoration workshops. Over 780 grams of gold leaf was consumed for sculpture refurbishment. The gold plate will remain for 12-15 years according to estimates.

It is worth reminding that this monument was erected in distant 1735 year and timed to 25 years since victory of the Russian Army against Swedes near Poltava. The author of this masterpiece was sculptor B.K.Rastrelli. It was gilded in its initial variant. Years passed, the lead sculpture became a bronze sculpture, and then Samson disappeared during German occupation and was cast again in 1947. The statue was often gilded to preserve good looks of Samson, earlier without disassembly, in 1970s, 90s, and 00s, but in 2010 the sculpture had to be sent to capital repair.

Transportation was ordered by Peterhof Palace. Samson weighs 3 tons and its dimensions come up to 3.5 m in height and 2 m in width. It was moved in daytime along the downtown and the task was to repeat the route of 1947 when it was returned after its disappearance, only at that time it was not gilded. Trailer loaded with Samson was escorted by police cars. The road train traveled at a speed of 30 km/h, without traffic lights.