NABOKV-L post 0006881, Sun, 6 Oct 2002 18:35:17 -0700

[Fwd: Gogol's Nose Takes a Hike]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Gogol's Nose Takes a Hike
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 17:59:19 -0400
From: Rodney Welch <>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

Don --

I like to think Vladimir and Nikolai are in heaven having a good long
laugh over the following BBC News story, dated Wednesday 2 October, 2002

Rodney Welch
Columbia, SC:

Gogol's nose goes

A statue of a giant nose in St Petersburg, inspired by Gogol's story of
a man's pursuit of his escaped nose, has also vanished.

Police in Russia's second city are hunting the thieves responsible for
the removal of the 100kg marble piece.

It was erected eight years ago to honour Nikolai Gogol for his popular
but surreal 19th Century short story.

In it a civil servant's nose detaches itself and he has to pursue it all
over the city as it conducts a bizarre walkabout.

"The nose seems to have gone for a walk," said its sculptor Vyacheslav

"It could not have been stolen for its material. I really don't know who
could have taken it - maybe it was some art lover who prefers admiring
works of art in private."

St Petersburg police official Pavel Rayevsky indicated detectives
believed a collector was probably behind the theft.

Opportunists are unlikely to have been responsible as the piece weighs
100kg and was positioned in a way that would have made it awkward to

Replacement nose

"It required a ladder, significant physical strength as well as a lot of
motivation," said Vladimir Timofeyev, director of the city's sculpture

Mr Bukhayev said he was already considering whether and how to craft a
replacement for the stolen nose.

"Maybe it's for the best. In Gogol's story, the nose has a birthmark
which I omitted in my sculpture.

"In my second nose, I will be more faithful to the story and add the
birthmark," he said.

Russia is a hotspot for organised art theft, with St Petersburg a
particular focus for gangs.