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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Russian sculpts Diana bronze
Princess Diana
Zurab Tsereteli says he met Princess Diana several times
A controversial Russian sculptor has created a bronze statue of the late Princess of Wales.

The two-metre high piece is a tame creation for Zurab Tsereteli compared to his previous works which have included a 660-tonne statue of Christopher Columbus.

The statue of Diana is set to be erected in the Russian capital, according to the artist's spokeswoman.

Tsereteli, president of the Russian Academy of Art, was not commissioned to make the bronze, instead choosing to sculpt it to coincide with what would have been the princess's 40th birthday.

The two metre statue depicts Diana standing in a ruffled evening gown and tiara.

It will be put on display at the modern art museum in central Moscow sometime during July.

The artist says he met Diana on several occasions at arts and charity events before her death.

Rejected

He is also a close friend and favoured artist of Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Tsereteli's Columbus statue made 10 years ago has been rejected by five US states because of the size and nature of it.

The sculpture is twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, without her pedestal.

A 94-metre bronze statue of Peter the Great stands on the bank of the Moscow River, to the irritation of many locals.

The piece displays the czar in Roman warrior dress, sitting atop the rigging of a ship.

Despite Peter's obvious disdain for Moscow, the statue was unveiled in 1997 to mark the city's 850th anniversary.

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