Stepan Pimenov – Russian sculptor
Stepan Pimenov was one of the great Russian sculptors of the early nineteenth century, who together with V.I. Demuth-Malinovsky designed the buildings by C. Rossi and A. Voronikhin. The Chariot of Glory on the arch of the General Staff is among his best works.
Stepan was born in St. Petersburg in 1784. His father – Stepan Afanasievich held the rank of provincial secretary. At the age of eleven his parents sent the boy to the Academy of Arts.
The talented young sculptor’s works frequently won awards. In 1801 he was awarded the first silver medal for ‘modelling from nature’, and in 1802 the artist received his first gold medal for the bas-relief composition “Jupiter and Mercury in the Guise of Wayfarers Visiting Philemon and Baucis”. In 1802 Pimenov took part in a competition to carve a memorial tombstone to his favorite teacher and professor at the Academy, Mikhail Kozlovsky. The competition was won by Vasily Demut-Malinovsky, whose bas-relief composition fulfilled the conditions laid down for the competition. Pimenov received the Second Gold Medal.
In the autumn of 1803, Pimenov was awarded a grand gold medal for his diploma work The Killing of Two Varangian Christians Who Refused to Bow Down Before Perun.
The artist taught at the Academy from 1809 to 1830. In 1814 he became a Professor.
He also headed the sculpture department of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
In 1811 Pimenov, Shchedrin, Terebenev and Demut-Malinovsky were invited to design sculptures for the Admiralty which was being constructed to the plans of A. Zakharov. He had sculpted 16 statues for the exterior decoration of the tower, the main facade and pavilions from the embankments. Unfortunately, Alexander II had them destroyed in 1860.
In 1819-1820, together with sculptors I. Martos, V.I. Demuth-Malinovsky and I.P. Prokofiev, Pimenov worked on the creation of large plaster bas-reliefs, intended to be placed under the arches of the ceiling at the Academy of Fine Arts.
The artist’s last monumental works were for the Narva Triumphal Gates, built by the architect V. P. Stasov (1827-34). The Narva Gates were erected in St. Petersburg on the site of old wooden gates, which had fallen into decay. They were an unusual monument to Russian arms, which had secured victory in the 1812-14 War, and to the courage and the glory of the Russian army.
Pimenov died on March 22 (April 3, New Style), 1833 at the age of forty-nine and was buried at the Smolensk Orthodox cemetery. In 1936, Stepan was reburied in the Necropolis of Artists in the Tikhvin cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
Pimenov had a daughter and two sons. His eldest son, Nikolai, shortly after the death of his father graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and became a famous sculptor.