Kozlovskii, Mikhail Ivanovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kozlovskii, Mikhail Ivanovich


Born Oct. 26 (Nov. 6), 1753, in St. Petersburg; died there Sept. 18 (30), 1802. Russian sculptor.

Kozlovskii, the son of a navy trumpeter, studied under N. F. Gillett and A. P. Losenko at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1764 to 1773. He studied on a stipend from the academy in Rome from 1774 to 1779 and in Paris from 1779 to 1780. In 1788, Kozlovskii returned to Paris, working there until 1790. He became a member of and a professor at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1794.

Kozlovskii was one of the most outstanding Russian classicist sculptors. Lofty humanism, striking emotionality, and ideas of the Enlightenment permeate his works. His sculptures initially were influenced by baroque art. In Kozlovskii’s early work, such as the reliefs for the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg (marble, 1787) and the Vigil of Alexander the Great (marble, 1780’s, Russian Museum, Leningrad), he revealed a striving for strong modeling and balanced composition and an interest in civic and historical subjects. The dynamism and complexity of silhouette of his statue Polycrates (plaster of paris, 1790, Russian Museum), which is full of tragic emotion, is reminiscent of baroque sculpture.

Later in his career, Kozlovskii created delicately modeled representations of beautiful and serene people treated with subtle elegance and set in a pastoral and idyllic environment (Sleeping Cupid, marble, 1792, Russian Museum). At the same time, he was attracted to themes of heroic feats and to national heroes (Iakov Dolgorukii Tearing Up the Tsar’s Ukase, marble, 1797, Tret’iakov Gallery). Kozlovskii also did idealized allegorical sculptures representing Russia’s military glory (the equestrian statue Hercules, bronze, 1799, Russian Museum). The powerful statue Samson Rending the Lion’s Jaw, which Kozlovskii executed for the main cascade at Peterhof (Petrodvorets), is an allegory of Peter I’s victory over Sweden (gilt bronze, 1800–02, stolen by the fascists during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45; re-created by the sculptor V. L. Simonov, 1947).

Kozlovskii’s most important work is the monument to A. V. Suvorov (bronze, 1799–1801, in present-day Suvorov Square, Leningrad). This sculpture, in which Suvorov is represented as a young warrior, is distinguished by precise modeling, striking expressiveness of movement, silhouette, and rhythm, and a feeling of peaceful confidence.

Kozlovskii was also a fine graphic artist; his drawings are devoted to historical and genre themes. Among his pupils were S. S. Pimenov and V. I. Demut-Malinovskii.


Kaganovich, A. M. I. Kozlovskii. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia russkogo iskusstva, vol. 6. Moscow, 1961. Pages 400–35.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.