A series of sculptures “Circle of Day” was performed by a talented sculptor Giovanni Bonazza. Night and sunrise, midday and sunset, following one another, mark the everlasting circle of day and night on the earth. Shining “Aurora”, radiant “Midday”, gloomy “Sunset”, wise thoughtful “Night” allegorically depicted four times of the day and were meant to be established on the roof of the Grotto. An album of painting was preserved, sort of an accompanying document, in which an unknown Italian painter pictured statues and busts ordered by Peter the Great in Italy. The names of the sculptures and the masters who created them are mentioned in this album. On the paintings from this album the sculptures depicting times of the day are featured with wings, but their wings were not preserved.
The goddess “Nyx” (Night) is depicted as a young woman wrapped in a starry coverlet with a crown of poppies on her head: poppies bring sleep. A bat is featured on her waist and a night bird, an owl, is sitting at her feet. The woman’s eyes are shut, her face is sad and thoughtful. According to the classical mythology, Nyx is a daughter of Chaos that preceded the whole world. From Night’s union with Erebus (Erebus – primeval darkness) Day and Aether were born, whom Nyx fears to meet. That is why the woman is sunk in sorrow, the corners of her lips are lowered bitterly, her head is hung low. This excellent statue conveys the feeling of stillness and silence
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