Antokolsky, Mark

1843 - 1902

Антокольский Марк Матвеевич.

Mark Antokolsky - Russian sculptor

Mark (Mordochai or Mote) Matveevich Antokolsky (Antokolski, Antocolsky, Antocolski) was born in Vilno on October 21, 1843. He was the seventh and last child in his large family. His parents were uneducated, poor and very religious. His father kept a tavern and bar, was easily angered and even cruel. Antokolsky knew this from childhood. Later he would write "I was not loved as a child. I was abused by everyone… I don't remember any caring."

Even as a child Antokolsky drew anywhere he could, on the table and on the walls, for example. "My father," he wrote "didn't understand my passion and not only did he not encourage it, he severely punished me for it." When Mark was old enough they sent him to a wood carver for training. The wife of the Vilno governor general, a well-known patroness of the arts, heard about the talented apprentice. Thanks to her assistance Antokolsky was accepted by the Imperial Academy of Arts. There Mark studied with other young artists such as Repin, Vasnetsov, Semiradsky, Savitsky and others.

While studying at the Academy Antokolsky became interested in Russian history and literature. In 1870 he completed the statue Ivan the Terrible.

Иван Грозный Марка Антокольского

But the professors refused to look at the statue. Then Antokolsky decided to invite the president of the Academy of Arts, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, to his studio. She was elated seeing the sculpture and told Emperor Alexander II about the young artist's work. The emperor visited Antokolsky's studio and bought the statue for the Hermitage for eight thousand rubles. Following this event the Academy board members changed their minds and awarded student Antokolksy with the official title of an academician for the Ivan The Terrible statue. "I fell asleep poor," wrote Antokolsky, "and awoke rich. Yesterday I was unknown, but today I'm all the rage." Shortly after that his name was well known abroad.

Incredibly intense work and poor living conditions ruined the artist's health and in 1871, after graduating from the Academy, he was forced to go abroad, to Rome and Paris, and rarely returned to his homeland. In Rome Antokolsky worked on a statue of Peter the Great he had conceived in Russia. He sent this work to Petersburg.

Antokolsky became a corresponding member of the Paris Academy. In 1878 he showed all his new works at the Paris World Fair. He was awarded the exhibition's highest honor and the order of the French Legion of Honor. Soon after that he became a honored member of many West-European academies like the ones in Vienna, Berlin, London and others.

In the 1880s and 1890s Antokolsky turned his attention back to historical subjects. Inspired by Pushkin's depiction of Pimen the sculptor created a statue called Nestor The Chronicler (1889). In 1891 he completed two other works - a majolica sculpture of Yaroslav The Wise and a bronze statue of Yermak (Ermak).


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Name SKU Thumbnail Image Description  
Nestor The Chronicler ANK001 Mark Antokolsky Product Details
Mephistopheles ANK002 Mark Antokolsky Product Details
Nathan The Wise ANK003 Mark Antokolsky Product Details
Bust of Mephistopheles ANK004 Mark Antokolsky Product Details

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