Prokof’ev, Ivan Prokof’evich
Born Jan. 24 (Feb. 4), 1758, in St. Petersburg; died there Feb. 10 (22), 1828. Russian sculptor.
Prokof’ev studied with N. F. Gillet and F. G. Gordeev at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1764 to 1779. He received a stipend from the academy to study in Paris from 1779 to 1784, where he worked under the supervision of P. Julien. From 1784 to 1828, Prokof’ev taught at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. He was made a member of the academy in 1785.
The dynamic composition and elegant silhouette of Prokof’ev’s first important works, which included Actaeon Pursued by Hounds (1784, Tret’iakov Gallery), reflect the influence of the rococo. The artist’s idyllic reliefs for the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (plaster of paris, 1785–86) and for the palace at Pavlovsk (plaster of paris, 1785–87) are marked by measured, flowing rhythms that herald a transition to classicism.
Prokof’ev’s mature work is greatly varied. He executed decorative statues and group sculptures for the fountains of Peterhof (for example, Tritons, bronze, 1800); their stormy dynamism complements the baroque architectural ensemble. Prokof’ev sculptured the intensely dramatic monumental relief Worship of the Copper Snake (stone, 1805–06) on the attic of the Kazan Cathedral in Leningrad. In addition, he produced portraits (including those of A. F. Labzin and A. E. Labzin, both terracotta, 1802, Russian Museum, Leningrad), numerous figures, and sculptural groups of plaster of paris and terra-cotta. Prokof’ev also produced drawings.