Tolstoi, Fedor

Tolstoi, Fedor Petrovich


Born Feb. 10 (21), 1783, in St. Petersburg; died there Apr. 13 (25), 1873. Russian medalist, sculptor, graphic artist, and painter.

In 1804, Tolstoi enrolled at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, where he studied under I. P. Prokof ev. He himself taught at the academy from 1825 to 1828, receiving a professorship there in 1842. He became an honorary member of the academy in 1809 and served as its vice-president from 1828 to 1859 and its assistant president from 1859 to 1868. For some time, Tolstoi was associated with the Decembrists.

Tolstoi had a poetic understanding of Greek and Roman antiquity, and his refined and elegant works impart a new romantic treatment of the principles of classicism (for example, the bas-relief with scenes from Homer’s Odyssey, wax, 1810, Tret’iakov Gallery). The artist’s most important work is a set of 21 medallions commemorating the Patriotic War of 1812 and the foreign campaigns of the Russian Army in 1813–14 (wax, 1814–36, Russian Museum, Leningrad; gypsum, Tret’iakov Gallery and other museums). The medallions are marked by a classical simplicity of composition, subtle modeling, and a harmony of line and silhouette. Through the use of allegorical images, the civic ideas and the fervor of victory of a people fighting for the independence of their motherland are conveyed.

Tolstoi’s other works include pen drawings illustrating I. F. Bogdanovich’s poem Sweetheart (1820–33, Tret’iakov Gallery; published in 1850); his technique is marked by an absence of ha-chures and shadows. Tolstoi also executed several interior scenes, illusionist still lifes, and silhouettes.


Mroz, E. K. F. P. Tolstoi: 1783–1873. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.