Statue of Turgenev

The statue was made by the sculptors Yan Neiman and Valentin Sveshnikov, who used Turgenev's death mask when sculpting the writer's face. Turgenev is depicted seated on a bench and leaning on a staff in a pose like that of Jupiter from classical mythology. Neiman said of the sculpture that they hoped to show Turgenev not just as a great writer, but also as a permanent wanderer who flitted back and forward between Russia and France.

Statue of writer Ivan Turgenev on Manezhnaya Ploshchad in St Petersburg, Russia
Statue of writer Ivan Turgenev on Manezhnaya Ploshchad

The statue seems to be of Olympian grandeur, and indeed Turgenev's height was often remarked on by his contemporaries. The philosopher Vasily Rozanov wrote that, "Turgenev is so great in stature that he seems to be more solid furniture than a living person."

St. Petersburg was home to several journals in which Turgenev published, as well as to several of his friends. It was also the place where he began his stormy love affair with the singer Polina Viardo, which lasted for 40 years. Although he died in France, Turgenev was also buried in the city, as he had requested.