Vitali, Ivan Petrovich
Born 1794 in St. Petersburg; died there July 5 (17), 1855. Russian sculptor, monument designer, and portraitist. Studied under his father, Pietro Vitali, in the workshop of P. Triscornia (according to other sources, A. Triscorni) and was also an external student at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
Vitali lived in Moscow from 1818. The monumental universality of form and the spatially balanced compositional structure of his works of the Moscow period resemble Rus-sian sculpture of the first quarter of the 19th century. Works from this period include the Chariot of Glory and the Liberation of Moscow relief for the Triumfal’nye Gates (cast iron, 1829-34); the sculpture for the fountains on Lubianskaia Square, now in front of the building of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR; and the sculpture on Teatral’naia Square, now Sverdlov Square (both bronze, 1835).
Vitali moved to St. Petersburg in 1841 (became a professor at the Academy of Arts in 1842), working mainly on the sculptural decorations for St. Isaac’s Cathedral (with pupils and coworkers of his workshop he made over 300 statues and reliefs). This series, done with enormous scope, does not, however, possess the classicist simplicity and clarity and organic unity with architecture that characterized his works in the Moscow period. He also did the decorative sculpture for the George Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow (zinc, 1848-49). In his portrait busts, the striving to fix exactly the faces of his contemporaries mingles with the abstract idealism of the classic portrait (portrait of K. P. Briullov, plaster of Paris, 1836, Scientific Research Museum of the Academy of Arts of the USSR, Leningrad; portrait of A. S. Pushkin, marble, 1837, at the Pushkin Museum of the USSR, in the city of Pushkin). His work of the 1840’s was characterized by even more specificity in the appearance of the person and an inclination to romanticize the emotionality of the imagery.