Mark Matveevich Antokolsky is a sculptor who worked all his life in the genre of realism and achieved incredible successes. He was firmly connected with the Imperial Academy of Arts, and for a long time, despite little recognition, remained faithful to academism.
The sculptures of Antokolsky are striking in their realism and accuracy of execution; they can be seen in the Russian Museum. He wrote many theoretical works and even created a chronicle of his life as a man of Jewish origin in Russia. It was one of Antokolsky’s works that was the first Russian sculpture created in the homeland and purchased in the West.
In the year 1881, Mark Antokolsky began his work on the large-scale work Ermak. Ermak Timofeevich - a famous historical figure, the ataman-Cossack, who conquered Siberia for the Russian state. It is not surprising that the figure of such an important hero of Russian history attracted the interest of Antokolsky.
The sculptor pushed to this idea a significant date - 300 years from the day of the conquest of the khanate of Siberia. Alexander the Third himself designed Mark Matveyevich an order for a sculpture of Ermak. Although the description of the hero was preserved in the words of the historian Karamzin, Antokolsky set himself a different task than simply conveying historical similarities.
Like any creative person, Antokolsky wanted to convey emotions. The image of a hero who would personify the strength of the spirit of the Russian people, the valor of the warriors who laid their heads on the conquest of Siberia - the sculptor decided to embody all this in the image of a single person. And, most interestingly, he did it.
The huge figure of Yermak is distinguished by power and physical strength. His armor has historical accuracy, and the pose is strong-willed and valiant. Antokolsky spent a lot of time and effort on the creation of this sculpture, but the fully completed idea was worth it.
Painting Kuindzhi Moonlit Night on the Dnieper