Mark Matveevich Antokolskii

Antokol’skii, Mark Matveevich


Born Oct. 21 (Nov. 2), 1843, in Vilnius; died June 26 (July 9), 1902, in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (now in the Federal Republic of Germany). Russian sculptor. Born into a poor Jewish family.

Antokol’skii studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (1862–68) with N. S. Pimenov and received the title of academician in 1871. Because of a serious illness, he lived in Italy starting in 1871; from the end of 1877 he lived in Paris. Under the influence of V. V. Stasov and I. N. Kramskoi, he became a confirmed democratic realist close to the peredvizhniki (members of the Society of Wandering Exhibitions). Already in his early high reliefs (The Tailor, wood, 1864; The Miser, bone and wood, 1865—both in the Russian Museum in Leningrad) he sought new methods of treating genre and historical themes independently of the academic tradition. His most important works are those on historical themes, which reflect Antokol’skii’s patriotic and civic aspirations and his propensity for psychologizing an image and for faithfulness to historical detail. His statue Ivan the Terrible (bronze, 1871, Russian Museum, Leningrad; marble, 1875, Tret’iakov Gallery) is notable for its strained dramatic quality of a psychological nature and is perceived as an exposure of autocracy. In his statue of Peter I, Antokol’skii created an image of the farsighted and decisive transformer of Russia. (The plaster version of 1872 has been lost; the bronze versions are in the Russian Museum and the Tret’iakov Gallery.) The statues Nestor the Chronicler (marble, 1889) and Ermak (bronze, 1891—both in the Russian Museum) were also executed by him. Antokol’skii devoted a number of works to moral and philosophical themes. He treated these themes in the spirit of the abstractly conceived ideals of justice and truth (Christ Being Judged by the People, bronze, 1874, Russian Museum; marble, 1876, Tret’iakov Gallery; Mephi-stopheles, marble, 1883, Russian Museum). Several of these works are characterized by sentimentality (Spinoza, marble, 1882, Russian Museum; Not of This World, marble, 1887, Tret’iakov Gallery). Antokol’skii created many portraits, tombstones, and plans for monuments.


Mark Matveevich Antokol’skii: Ego zhizn’, tvoreniia, pis’ma i stat’i. Edited by V. V. Stasov. St. Petersburg-Moscow, 1905.
Druzhinin, S. “Antokol’skii ob iskusstve i svoem tvorchestve.” Iskusstvo,1952, no. 4.
Varshavskii, L. R. “Mark Matveevich Antokol’skii.” In Russkoe iskusstvo: Ocherki. . . vtoroi poloviny 19 v.,[book] 1. Moscow, 1962.