Author Topic: History of "The Milkmaid"  (Read 13096 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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History of "The Milkmaid"
« on: August 06, 2006, 05:16:49 PM »
I would like to start a thread about the "Milkmaid of Tsarskoe Selo" sculpture and its history. This statue has been the symbol of the town, and its "muse", for nearly two centuries. It is often mentioned in poetry and prose related to the town.

Not many realize that the sculpture perched on top of a fountain in Catherine Park is a current reproduction, while the early 1800's original is kept safe and sound in the Rare Book Fund inside the Catherine Palace.

            The replica:                                                           The original:



What was the name of the early 19th century artist who sculpted the original, and why did it become the symbol of Tsarskoe Selo/the town of Pushkin? 

« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 05:21:19 PM by Helen_A »

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2006, 07:32:24 PM »
What a beautiful statue, Helen! Thank you for showing us both the original and the replica. And hopefully someone will have some information about it.

David_Pritchard

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2006, 11:09:20 PM »
The bronze fountain figure by Pavel Sokolov (1765-1831), named Girl with a Pitcher, was foundered and installed in 1816 under the supervision of the engineer O. Betanqure. This sculture was inspire by the folk tale, The Milkmaid and Her Pail by French writer Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695). The cast iron winged sphinxes on the Bank Bridge in front of the former Imperial Russian Bank in Saint Petersburg are also the creations of Pavel Sokolov.

The Milkmaid and Her Pail

A farmer's daughter had been out to milk the cows, and was returning to the dairy carrying her pail of milk upon her head. As she walked along, she fell a-musing after this fashion:

    The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter and take to market to sell. With the money I will buy a number of eggs, and these, when hatched, will produce chickens, and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry yard. Then I shall sell some of my fowls, and with the money which they will bring in I will buy myself a new gown, which I shall wear when I go to the fair; and all the young fellows will admire it, and come and make love to me, but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them.

Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 08:49:43 AM »
Thank you very much, David!

Anyone have any idea when and why TS/The Town of Pushkin adopted the Milkmaid as their symbol?

Offline vladm

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2006, 09:55:54 PM »
Thank you very much, David!

Anyone have any idea when and why TS/The Town of Pushkin adopted the Milkmaid as their symbol?

I believe somewhere in 1930th, because, it wasn’t religious symbol, and independent from poetry (before time, when A.S. Pushkin, was canonized as icon of the town). Btw, have any of you got a chance, to see Sakurov's movie - "Russian Ark"? I would highly recommend to everyone! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318034/. In this movie, was nice statement – "Do you know A.S. Pushkin? Yes, I've seen his poems before (in translation) - nothing special...", indeed his poems incredible, but to read in Russian, translation rather difficult to understand, because most of the rimes are very visual in cross references.
But, how may of you know, Tsarskoye Selo, was heart of the poetry and literature for over 150 years! Derjavin, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Yesenin, Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, and many more.
Here some poetry translated to English, by Lermontov:
http://lermontov.net/content/category/1/68/2/

You can't avoid our past.
Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 09:10:01 PM »
from our Tsarskoe Selo in 1910 site:

The fountain represents Peretta from La Fontaine's fable "the Milk-maid", or, "the Pitcher of milk".

Here is a translation of the fable by Kachovsky:

On the left side of the road a small brook' runs from' the grove under a bridge on the right, another small island rises from the lake. The brook springs from' the celebrated fountain "the Milkmaid". Pushkin dedicates pretty verses to it: "The maiden dropped the urn against a rock and smashed it, the maiden sits sadly, holding the useless remains.

Behold a miracle! the water, which is, pouring from the broken vase, does not stop,, and the maiden for ever sad, sits over the everlasting stream." The fountain was erected in 1810 by Betancourt, the figure is the work of P. P. Sokolov. The fountain represents Peretta from La Fontaine's fable "the Milk-maid", or, "the Pitcher of milk".

"Comfortably and lightly dressed, placing the pitcher of milk on her head, in short skirts and barefoot, Peretta hastened to town to the market. Giving the wing to daydreams as she went, this young milk-girl decided, that if her customer was liberal with his money, she would buy eggs and raise chickens at home and feed them and guard them so well, and defy master fox; for she would arrange everything so cleverly and wisely. She would sell the chickens, and of course, buy a sucking pig; in order to raise a pig no great expenses would be entailed. She would like to know, what might hinder her from buying in the town a cow, and a little bull; it would be sufficient reward for her for the trouble she took with them, to look after them, jumping among the herd. At that she jumped herself so high that she dropped the pitcher and spilt the milk, and with it lost her cows, pigs, and chickens! In despair she sat and looked at the remains, and at the pool of spilt milk, afraid to go home and face the anger there."

"Who 'has thought about his daily-bread, without building air-castles. There are multitudes of dreamers, everywhere, some through foolishness and some through excess of brain. All talk nonsense, we like to dream; the delightful illusion carries us to the skies. Our dreams have no end, no limit; 1, when alone, dream like everybody. I send a challenge to the bravest; I am a king, beloved by my people, I am invincible, I take new crowns, till life's pitiless hand wakes me and brings me to my senses."

In 1877 the water in the fountain began to fail; and since there were no drawings in existence, the engineer Cherniavsky, the manager at that time of the Taitsky water-works, was commissioned to trace out the causes of the water failing. It turned out, that the water was conducted through wooden pipes from an underground spring in a stratum of sandstone, under the black earth of the lawn, in front of the terrace. The engineer Cherniavsky mended the pipes, and the water runs as plentifully as ever.

According to an analysis conducted by the Dr. Gutovsky in 1910, it seems, that this water is not so pure as that of the Orlovsky springs, which now supply the Tsarskoe Selo waterworks.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2006, 06:18:03 PM »
I was translating some of the poems about Tsarskoe Selo, and realized that one of them is about the Milkmaid.

The Statue of Tsarskoe Selo

Already maple leaves
Are falling into the swan pond,
And the bushes look bloody
With unhurriedly maturing mountain ash.
And dazzlingly willowy,
Her legs tucked under and never chilled,
On a northern rock, she
Sits and watches the roads.



Offline vladm

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Re: History of "The Milkmaid"
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2006, 12:10:37 AM »
btw, here the Milkmaid picture from 1944
You can't avoid our past.
Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo