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Andrew Varlamov

Great Catherinians

Monument to Catherine II, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

September 20, 2007 - 13:17 UTC (17:17 local time)

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© 2007 Andrew Varlamov, All Rights Reserved.

Caption

Who are they, persons wearing wigs and medal ribbons ? Are they Founding Fathers or the last French grandees? Why not, but Slavonian surnames molded on the monument basement tell us about their participation in Russian history.

Some of the them took part in the coup d'etat of 1762 to enthrone German princess born as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst known today as Catherine The Great : Princess Yekaterina Romanovna Vorontsova-Dashkova (her godfather was husband of Catherine, prince Peter III and godmother was Empress Elizaveta Petrovna), Count Alexey Orlov (one of 5 Orlov's brothers, he was eyewitness of murder of Peter III - read his letter to Catherine II (in Russian)), Ivan Betskoi (he was experienced conspirator, because he was actively involved in a coup d'etat that brought Elizaveta Petrovna to the Russian throne), Grigory Potemkin (after the palace coup he was promoted to second lieutenant of the Guards, 12 years later he became a favorite of the tsarina).

During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and westward, she added some 518,000 squared kilometers to Russian territory. Famous Russian commanders are sitting in front of Bronze Empress: Peter Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky (he gained the victory title Zadunaisky (meaning "Trans-Danubian") together with rank of Field-Marshal in 1774), Grigory Potemkin (he was commander-in-chief of the Russian army from 1784) and Alexander Suvorov (his grandson Alexander Arkadievich Suvorov initiated in May 1863 construction the monument to Catherine II in Saint-Petersburg). The best words about Suvorov were said in ode "The Bullfinch" written by Gavrila Derzhavin :

...

Who will ride fiery, ahead of the legions,
Nag for a steed, and crusts for meal,
Temper his sword in the heat and in ice storms,
Sleep on straw pallets, labor 'til dawn,
Bring down the armies, the walls and the forts
With but a handful of stout Russian men?

Who will excel in unwavering courage,
Conquering fate with a prayer and with faith,
Evil with bayonets, envy with jests?
Capturing scepters, remaining a slave,
Who will keep striving for valor alone,
Live for our Tsars, while consuming himself?

...


Naval victories of Russia are represented by figures of Vasili Chichagov (polar explorer, commander-in-chief of the Baltic Sea Fleet from 1789) and Alexey Orlov (he received the honorific epithet Chesmensky in 1774).

Useful links:

Alexander Andreyevich Bezborodko

Review of book Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin by Douglas Smith

Review of book "Catherine the Great" | Some of what made Catherine so great by Douglas Smith

Excerpt from book "Potemkin. Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner" written by Simon Sebag Montefiore, Vintage, January 2005

Additional Captions: Caption in Russian - Выдающиеся деятели эпохи Екатерины II ▼ Behind the scene : how this panorama was made ▼

Location

Europe / Russia-Urals West

Lat: 59° 56' 0.42" N
Long: 30° 20' 13.02" E

Elevation: 1.8

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

OpenStreetMap: © OpenStreetMap contributors

Equipment

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, Pentax Focusing Screen LI-60

Lenses: Pentax SMC P-DA Fish-Eye 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED (IF) - for general view, Tokina AT X-PRO II 28-70 F2.6-2.8 - for detailed view

Tripod: Manfrotto 190XB tripod, Manfrotto Universal "Anti Twist" Spotting Scope Plate 200USS, Manfrotto Monopod Quick Release Tilt Top 3229, Manfrotto Suction Cup/Retractable Spike Feet 190SCK2N

Software: Pentax Photo Browser 3.02, Adobe Photoshop 7.0 CE, Pano2QTVR version 1.5.2 pro flash by Thomas Rausher.

Caption in Russian - Выдающиеся деятели эпохи Екатерины II

Кто они, эти люди, носящие парики и орденские ленты ? Отцы-основатели или последние вельможи Франции ? Почему бы и нет, но славянские фамилии, отлитые у основания памятника, говорят об их причастности к русской истории.

Некоторые из них принимали участие в дворцовом перевороте 1762 года, который возвел немецкую принцессу Софию Фредерику Августу Ангальт-Цербсткую, известную сегодня как Екатерина II Великая на трон : княгиня Екатерина Романовна Воронцова-Дашкова (ее крестным отцом был муж Екатерины, князь Петр Федорович, а крестной матерью - императрица Елизавета Петровна), граф Алексей Григорьевич Орлов (один из пяти братьев Орловых, он был свидетелем убийства Петра Федоровича в Ропше), Иван Иванович Бецкой (опытный заговорщик, участвовал в возведении на русский престол Елизаветы Петровны), Григорий Александрович Потемкин (после дворцового переворота был сделан камер-юнкером, а 12 лет спустя стал фаворитом царицы).

Во времена царствования Екатерины II границы Российской Империи раздвинулись на юг и на запад, а территория империи увеличилась на 518 000 квадратных километров. Великие русские полководцы сидят перед бронзовой царицей : Петр Александрович Румянцев-Задунайский (получивший наименование Задунайского вместе с званием фельдмаршала в 1774), Григорий Александрович Потемкин (с 1784 года являвшийся Главнокомандующим русской армии) и Александр Васильевич Суворов (его внук Александр Аркадьевич Суворов, будучи санкт-петербургским военным генерал-губернатором, ходатайствовал в мае 1863 года о сооружении в Петербурге памятника Екатерине II). Лучшие слова о Суворове сказаны в оде "Снигирь", написанной Гавриилом Романовичем Державиным :

...

Кто перед ратью будет, пылая,
Ездить на кляче, есть сухари;
В стуже и в зное меч закаляя,
Спать на соломе, бдеть до зари;
Тысячи воинств, стен и затворов
С горстью россиян все побеждать?

Быть везде первым в мужестве строгом;
Шутками зависть, злобу штыком,
Рок низлагать молитвой и богом,
Скиптры давая, зваться рабом;
Доблестей быв страдалец единых,
Жить для царей, себя изнурять?

...



Морские победы России представлены фигурами Василия Яковлевича Чичагова (полярного исследователя, Главнокомандующего Балтийского флота с 1789 года) и Алексея Григорьевича Орлова (получившего почетное наименование Чесменского в 1774 году).

Полезные ссылки:

Александр Андреевич Безбородко

Письмо А.Г. Орлова Екатерине II об убийстве Петра III. Ропша. 6 июля 1762.

Любовные письма Екатерины II Г.А.Потемкину

Избранные письма Екатерины II Г.А.Потемкину

Прошение статс-секретаря и поэта Г.Р.Державина Екатерине II о пожаловании чина. 1782 г., не позднее июня 18

Мэлор Стуруа, статья "Даешь Потемкина!.. Но какого? " в "Известиях" 12 сентября 2005 года

Н.Я. Чуксин, статья "Екатерина Великая: памятник в Краснодаре", 2007.

Behind the scene : how this panorama was made

Let me begin from EXIF citations : White Balance = Cloudy, Quality Level = RAW, Sensitivity = ISO 200, Aperture = F/8.0, Manual Focus

Pentax Fish-Eye 10-17mm: Focal length = 13 mm, Shutter speed = 1/20-1/45 sec for overexposured shots (-1EV), 1/90-1/125 sec for underexposured shots (+1EV)

Tokina AT X-Pro 28-70mm: Focal length = 65 mm, Shutter speed = 1/8-1/15 sec

I had got only 3 days to shot panorama for this event (because my weekend was devoted to my family affairs). September 19 was rainy day. September 20 was opened by sunny morning, but after noon sun begun to cover by more and more dense clouds. At 17:00 light became soft and uniform, but rain was ready to start.

As You see monument to Catherine II is circled by low stones connected by chains. There are 25 stones, and shooting points were chosen in front every second stone. When I finisned 1st circle around monument I thought that 13 is not suitable shots number and performed additional rear shot. Then Pentax Fish-Eye lense was replaced by Tokina Zoom Lens and I went 2nd circle. 42 shots were made during 25 minutes.

Shots processing was divided into:
  • merging of dark sky with overexposed shots (for general view)
  • shot rotation (maximum angle deviations were -1.9 and 1.1 degrees)
  • shot scaling (maximum scale was 116.8 %)
  • shot centering
  • shot cutting
  • brightness/contrast adjusting
As result shots of size 3008x2000 pixels were transformed into shots of size 2960x1800 (loss of width = 1,5 %, loss of height = 10 %).

To satisfy WWP requirements for files sizes the next parameters were chosen for QTVR object consisted of 2 rows by 14 frames:
standard version: frame size = 526x320 pixels, quality = 55%
full-screen version: frame size = 1110x675 pixels, quality =55%
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