Antokolsky (Antocolsky) Mark Matveevich (1843 – 1902)
Mark (Mordochai or Mote) Matveevich Antokolsky (Antokolski, Antocolsky, Antocolski) was born in Vilno on October 21, 1843. He was the seventh and the last child in his big family. His parents were uneducated, poor and very religious people. His father was running a tavern and bar business. He could easily get angry and even cruel. Antokolsky experienced this from his childhood. Later he wrote “I have never been loved in my childhood. I have been abused by everyone… I don’t remember any care from anyone..”
Even as a child Antokolsky used to draw on everything he saw around him – on the table, on the walls, etc. “My father”, – he wrote, – “couldn’t understand my passion and never encouraged me, but he severely punished me for it instead.” When Mark was old enough they sent him to study wood carving. Wife of the Vilno governor, a well-known patroness of the arts, heard about the talented apprentice. With her promotion Antokolsky was accepted into the Imperial Academy of Arts, where he studied fine arts with the other young artists such as Repin, Vasnetsov, Semiradsky, Savitsky and others.
While studying at the Academy Antokolsky became interested in Russian history and literature. In 1870 he completed the statue of Ivan the Terrible. But the professors refused to look at the statue even. Then Antokolsky decided to invite the president of the Academy of Arts, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, to his studio. She was elated seeing the sculpture and told Emperor Alexander II about the work of the young artist. The Emperor visited Antokolsky’s studio and bought the statue for the Hermitage for eight thousand rubles right away. Following this event the Academy board members changed their minds and awarded student Antokolksy with the official title of an academician for the Ivan The Terrible statue. “I fell asleep poor,” wrote Antokolsky, “and awoke rich. Yesterday I was unknown, but today I’m all the rage.” Shortly after that his name was well known abroad.
*** Got a statue by this artist? We can help you identify, sell, or consign it with a specialized auction.