Opekushin, Aleksey Mikhailovich
Opekushin Aleksey Mikhailovich, born 16 (28) November 1838, village Svechkino Danilovsky district, Yaroslavl province. Died 4 Mar 1923, big village Rybnitsy, Yaroslavl province.
A serf by origin. Got his first technical skills from the father- patternmaker, working at the Robert Kohun bronze casting plant in St. Petersburg. In the early 1850’s Aleksey arrived to St. Petersburg and was qualified to the co-operative craft society of modelers and plasterers. Studied at the Art School of the Imperial Society for Artists’ Encouragement for a short time, later was enrolled in the sculptural workshop of D.I. Jensen, and assisted in the execution of ornamental and decorative works. Studied sculpture under the guidance of D.I. Jensen until 1864. Under his auspices was manumitted (1859) and received permission to visit the sculpture class of the Imperial Academy of Arts as a volunteer student. Received a small silver medal for a bas-relief "Angel Heralding Christmas to shepherds» in 1862 and a small gold medal for "sculpting from life". In 1864 for sculptural sketches "Belisarius" and "Cupid and Psyche" received the title of class (free) artist. In 1869 for the busts of the artist M. O. Mikeshin, O. I. Komissarov-Kostromskoy and merchant E. Posokhov was titled a class artist of the second degree, in 1870 for the bust of Mrs. Veimarn and a medallion with the image of Countess Shuvalova (plaster, Russian Museum) –awarded with a title of the first class artist degree. For the works "Peter the Great" and the portrait of crown Prince Nikolai Alexandrovich was titled academician in 1872.
The same year for the bust of Peter the Great received big gold medal at the Moscow exhibition devoted to the 200 anniversary from the birthday of Peter the Great in 1872. Member of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts since 1895. Monumental sculptor, author of several portrait works. In the period of apprenticeship, and later participated in the creation of monuments based on graphic projects of M. Mikeshin. Casted to final dimension the statue of Peter the Great, based on the model of I. N. Schroeder, for the monument "Millennium of Russia" in Novgorod (bronze, opened in 1862). Together with Mikeshin created the project of the monument to Admiral A. S. Greig in Nikolaev (bronze, opened in 1873), performed nine statues of the Impress1 associates for the monument to Catherine II in St. Petersburg (bronze, opened in 1873). In 1872 for the first time participated in the announced tender for the construction of the monument to A. S. Pushkin in Moscow. The project of 1875 was approved for installation (bronze, unveiled in Moscow in 1880). He created monuments to A. S. Pushkin in St. Petersburg (bronze, opened in 1884) and in Chișinău (bronze, opened in 1885), to the scientist-naturalist, academician Karl Baer in Dorpat (now Tartu; bronze, granite, opened in 1886), to M. Lermontov in Pyatigorsk (bronze, opened in 1891), to Alexander II in Moscow Kremlin (bronze, unveiled in 1898), to Alexander III in Moscow (bronze, unveiled in 1912).
1 To the poet G. R. Derzhavin, general Alexander Suvorov, Admiral V. Y. Chichagov, statespersons - G. A. Potemkin, P. A. Rumyantsev, A. G. Orlov, A. A. Bezborodko, I. I. Betskoy, E. R. Dashkova.