Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain
Watercolour, ink and crayon
©2011 Charlene Brown

My first painting of this spectacular water feature at the Peterhof Palace was done in 2007 just after we returned from a Baltic Cruise. I never liked that painting, completed while every detail was fresh in my memory, so decided to try it again in a much looser style.  I’m happier with this version, but, like most of my ‘abstracting’ attempts, it has even more detail than the original!
The large Samson Fountain was placed in the pool at the base of the Grand Cascade in the 1730s. It depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, representing Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War, and is doubly symbolic. The lion is an element of the Swedish coat of arms, and one of the important victories of the was with Sweden took place on St Samson's Day. From the lion's mouth shoots a 20-metre-high vertical jet of water.  Perhaps the greatest technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of pumps.