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Fedot Shubin – Russian sculptor

Fedot Shubin

Fedot Shubin. Self-portrait


Fedot Shubin was the great Russian sculptor, one of the great masters of world art. You know, he studied not only in Russia, but also in France and Italy.
The boy was born in May 1740 into a peasant family. His father Arkhangelsk Pomor Ivan Afanasyevich had slightly different surname – Shubnoy. He was not serf, could read and write, and was fond of bone carving. It was thanks to his lessons that Fedot decided to become a sculptor. To tell the truth, his father taught young Mikhail Lomonosov.
In 1759, Ivan Afanasievich Shubnoy died, and his young son went to the capital. For two years the young man studied Petersburg, he did not live in poverty, as he easily carved fans, snuffboxes, combs and other trinkets. Lomonosov was happy to patronize the son of his first teacher, and in 1761 Fedot entered the Academy of Arts. The boy was very talented. Even Count Shuvalov was amazed by his first works and also willingly patronized him.
In 1766, he made a bas-relief The Murder of Askold and Dir, which not only was awarded the Great Gold Medal, but the author also received a personal nobility and the first officer’s rank. Unfortunately, many of his works were lost.

In 1767 the sculptor went to Paris, where he met with famous Diderot. Jean-Baptiste Pigalle became the teacher of Fedot. Working in the workshop of Pigalle, Fedot Afanasievich carefully copied both modern French sculpture and antique statues.
The three-year education in Paris was over, but it was not enough, so Fedot asked permission to continue his studies in Rome. It was the time of the most successful creations. In 1771 the sculptor created portraits of Shuvalov and Golitsyn. Now they are in the Tretyakov Gallery. Another work is a marble bust of Catherine the Great, which turned out to be successful. The Orlov brothers, the favorites of the Empress, immediately ordered Shubin their portraits.
In the summer of 1773 Shubin went to London. However, he missed Russia, friends and patrons. Therefore, immediately after that trip he returned to Petersburg.
In 1775, Shubin created one of the most magnificent works, bust of Prince Golitsyn, Catherine’s brilliant diplomat and educated nobleman. A year earlier, in September 1774, the sculptor received the title of academician.
You know, Catherine the Great ordered fifty-eight bas-reliefs for the Round Hall in the Chesme Palace. Now they can be seen in the Armory.
In the eighties the sculptor created the relief and statues of the Marble Palace, the marble mausoleum to General Golitsyn, sculptures for the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the Trinity Cathedral.
Bust of A. A. Bezborodko

Bust of A. A. Bezborodko


The portrait of Lomonosov, which Shubin created from memory in 1792, is very expressive. However, the real masterpiece was not a portrait of a brilliant countryman, but a bust of Paul the First.
In 1801, the sculptor’s house and his workshop burned down.
One of the last works was the bust of Alexander I. The king granted him a ring with a diamond for this bust.
The remarkable sculptor died on May 24, 1805 in St. Petersburg and was buried at the Smolensk Orthodox cemetery.

Fedot Shubin – Russian sculptor