Famous Moscow sculptor presents Gogol statue to Italy

Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli made a generous gift to Rome-a Gogol monument, which was unveiled in Villa Borghese on Tuesday. The bronze statue is 2.9 metres high, and weighs 3.3 tonnes.

This is a second monument to a Russian literary classic in Villa Borghese, exquisite public gardens round a former residence of cardinals. A Pushkin statue, by Russian sculptor Orekhov, was unveiled in June 2000.

There is every reason for Rome to commemorate Nikolai Gogol with a statue, which adds to a memorial plaque on the Via Sistine house where he lived.

Gogol spent many years in Italy, and considered them the most enjoyable and fruitful part of his life. It was in Rome he wrote his landmark novel, "The Dead Souls", which he subtitled, "Poem". He started another work in the city he loved-a novella titled "Rome" after it. The author was pinning great hopes on the narrative of a love affair of its protagonist Annunziata, beautiful young lady of Naples, but soon got tired of its high-fallutin' Romantic style, and never finished the piece.

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