The figure of Ivan the Terrible by Mark Antokolsky is considered to be one of his best creations and often described as one of the most important Russian sculptures ever produced. The historical bronze figure of Ivan the Terrible, a larger version of the present lot, was first exhibited in 1871 and secured the artist a gold medal and the title of Academician. It was later purchased by Alexander II for the Hermitage Collection and is now in the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg.
The sculpture was pivotal in Antokolsky's career and was subsequently produced in different media. A plaster version was made for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 1872, and a marble copy for the Tretyakov Museum, Moscow, in 1875.
The work was so successful that Antokolsky made a reduced version of the statue. The present lot is one such rare cast in bronze, produced by Adolf Moran’s foundry. A cast in silver is also known and is now at the State Russian Museum.
For further information and other versions of the sculptures, see E.V. Kuznetsova, M.M. Antokol'skii Life and Work, Moscow, 1989, pp. 53-72.