The original sculpture, designed by the eminent German sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch, was unveiled close to the Albertina University building on Kant Island – then known as Kneiphof – in 1864. However, when the storming of the city in April 1945 became imminent, it was hastily removed and taken out to hiding in the Gvardeyskiy district some 8km from the centre. Its whereabouts remained a mystery until 1990 when the Countess Marion Denhoff (a descendant of Kant) finally disclosed its location but, rather cruelly for the Countess, it turned out to have been discovered many years before and melted down.
The distraught Countess then commissioned a reproduction to be made in 1992. Kant's workplace on Kneiphof had been utterly destroyed during WW2 so it was decided to position this close to the ‘new’ university building, which dates from 1844 but needed extensive rebuilding after the war.