To the 165th birth anniversary of the sculptor Pavel Kamenskiy

Pavel Kamenskiy was a grandson of an artist Feodor Tolstoy. He was a freelance apprentice in the Imperial Academy of Arts (1874- 1877; 1879-1881; 1882-1885).

In 1879, he was awarded a small incentive medal for the "Bust from life", and in 1881 -- a large incentive medal for the group "Abandoned". In 1885, he was ranked as the 2d degree class artist with the right to teach drawing in secondary schools for the statue "Ophelia". In 1886, he was appointed a teacher of drawing at the Imperial Theatre School and head of the props studio at the Imperial Theatres Directorate where he worked until 1901. He created several sculptural compositions and portraits. He was the author of the Pyotr Tchaikovsky bust that was used for the tombstone of the composer (1897, bronze, Necropolis of Masters of the Arts in Alexander Nevsky Lavra).

In 1907, Nicolai Wolf, a managing director of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, invited Kamenskiy to the position of a chief sculptor of the series of figures entitled “The Peoples of Russian Empire”, which was to be made to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs House. Kamenskiy created over 150 models - for these he drew on a wide range of historical, ethnographic and anthropological materials from the collections of the Kunstkabinett and the Alexander III Museum. The full-size porcelain figures in the series were intended for museums, while their smaller copies were put on sale. Many of them were reissued several times and it is possible to produce them today. The numerous series were intended to illustrate all the nationalities that lived on the territory of the Russian Empire and thus emphasize its mightiness. The sketches were created basing on the exhibits from the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography and the ethnographic department of the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III. "Kamenskiy had at his disposal the latest results of scientific research comparing facial features, height and constitution of separate ethnic groups, as well as numerous photographs of representatives of various peoples and anthropomorphic dummy. Scientific achievements in the study of the cultures of Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia played an important role in the choice of images. This explains the predominance of sculptures representing the nationalities that lived on these territories in the "Peoples of Russian Empire" series. To implement the project, 146 casting molds were made. By 1915, almost all presently existing models were completed. Museums received copies of the models, and the half-sized statuettes went on sale (about 18-19 cm in height).

The preserved works by Kamenskiy preserved sculptures include the bust of Alexander Griboyedov in the Tsarist crush-room of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, and the busts of Nikolai Gogol and Denis Fonvizin in the Actors' crush-room; a plaster portrait of the actor Pavel Mochalov that is stored in the Bakhrushin State Theatre Museum. The bust of Pyotr Tchaikovsky by Kamenskiy adorns the grave of the composer at the Tikhvin Cemetery.
The museum Collection exposition features a bronze sculpture "Without a Nanny", which Pavel Kamenskiy created while he was studying at the Academy of Fine Arts. The marble sculpture 'Without a Nanny' dated the same year, 1884, is stored in the Tretyakov Gallery.

On the cover: Without a Nanny. Composition. Pavel Kamenskiy. Russian Empire, Saint Petersburg. 1884

State Tretyakov Gallery.  Sculpture of the 18th-20th Centuries. Volume I. Collective of authors. Red Square Publisher, Moscow. 2000