The figure of Samson tearing apart the lion’s jaws stands on a granite rock in the centre of the Pool of the Grand Cascade. The 21 meter-high jet of water shoots up from the mouth of an animal. There are eight gilded dolphins at the feet of Samson, the water spouts from their mouths too. Foreparts of lions, symbolic of the four points of the compass, peer from the four niches in the base of the pedestal.
The image of the Russian Samson personifies the struggle and victory of the people. The metaphor came in use after the battle of Poltava (1709) which happened on Samson’s Day and ended in brilliant victory for Russians.
This biblical subject was chosen in 1735, on 25 anniversary of Poltava battle. The model of the group was made by Rastrelli, a special hydraulic system was made by Sualem. In 1801 Kozlovsky made a new sculpture of gilded bronze. He retained the original concept and composition of the group. A year later the sculpture was put on its pedestal by Voronikhin, who also added lion’s foreparts to the group.
The sculpture was looted by Nazi during the occupation of Peterhof of 1941-44. In 1947 Simonov reproduced the famous statue using the photographs and other documentary. The statue is now 2,3 meters high and weights 6 tons.
The Samson fountain, rising in the very heart of the ensemble, expresses more forcefully than any other at Peterhof the idea of Russia’s victory, and of her reestablished possession of the Baltic coast.Video: The Peterhof. Fountains. Samson Fountain…→