Mark Matveevich Antokolsky was born on October 21 (November 2), 1843 in Vilno. He was the son of a guesthouse. Since youth, he was fond of woodcarving, ivory carving and metal cutting. He studied at the sculptural department of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1862-1868 as unenrolled student. At first, he studied from N. S. Pimenov, and since 1863 – from Ivan Reimers.
He was awarded with a small silver medal for the high relief "The Jewish Tailor” in 1864 (wood, the State Russian museum). In 1865, Antokolsky was awarded with a large silver medal for the high relief "Stingy Jew" (ivory, wood, the State Russian museum). In 1868, the sculptor left for Berlin, where he attended classes of the German sculptor Reinhold Begas. Simultaneously he was attending classes at the Royal Academy of Arts. He received the rank of academician for the statue "Joann The Terrible” in 1871 (plaster). The same year for the medical reasons, he went abroad and decided to stay there. Primarily he lived in Rome, and since 1877, he lived in Paris.
Repeatedly he returned to Russia with business purposes, related to his creative work and exhibition activities, and visited St. Petersburg, Vilno and Mamontov’s estate in Abramtsevo. He received the title of the Professor of sculpture in 1880. He was titled a full-fledged member of the Imperial Academy of Arts since 1893, the member of the Academy of fine arts in Paris, the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin and Institute of arts in Urbino as well. Antokolsky was the author of the compositions with historical and religious plots, the portraitist. He executed gravestones for the princess Yusupova (1888, marble, the Memorial estate "Arkhangelsk"), the princess Obolenskaya at the Monte Testachcho cemetery in Rome (1875-1877, marble), the orientalist Hanykov at the Per-Laschez cemetery in Paris (1989), the daughter of the collector Tereshchenko (1888, variant in bronze was not preserved; variant in marble is in Kiev Museum of Russian art), for poet Nadson in the necropolis "The Literature planked footway" in Volkov cemetery (1891, bronze, the State museum of City Sculpture in St.-Petersburg).
In 1875, he participated in the contest for creation of a monument to Pushkin in Moscow. He worked on sketches of equestrian statue for the unrealized project of Aleksandrovsky Bridge in St.-Petersburg. He wrote numerous articles on graphic art. Wrote the novel "Ben-Izsak" (this literary work is stored in the manuscript department of the National Library of Russia).
The sculptor died on June 26 (July 9), 1902 in Bud-Gomburg, Germany.