Mark Antokolsky was a famous Russian sculptor, realist, professor of sculpture.
The boy was born on October 21 (November 2), 1843 in Vilnius, the Russian Empire. He was the youngest, the seventh child in a Jewish family. His parents were rather poor people and very religious. As a child Antokolsky drew wherever he could on the table, on the walls. When the child grew up, he was sent to learn wood carving. A. A. Nazimova, a wife of the governor-general and known patron of the arts, learned about the talented boy. Thanks to her Mark entered the Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1864 Antokolsky was awarded a silver medal for the high relief Jewish Tailor. And four years later, in 1868, the artist received the gold for the high relief Jewish Miser.
During his studies at the Academy Antokolsky became interested in Russian history and literature. In 1870 the sculptor created the statue of Ivan the Terrible, which had a tremendous impact. The young man was awarded the title of academician. Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, who patronized the Academy of Arts, was delighted with sculpture and told the Emperor Alexander II about the work of the young artist. The statue made a huge impression on the tsar, and he bought it for the Hermitage for 8000 rubles, for those times it was a huge amount of money.
After graduating from the Academy in 1871, Antokolsky went to Rome and Paris. In Rome, he worked on the statue of Peter the Great and later it was sent to St. Petersburg.