Зураб Константинович Церетели (Zurab Konstantinovich Tsereteli) Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor and architect, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1934. He is now President of the Russian Academy of Arts.
After graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, he soon moved to Moscow. His friendship with former mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, allowed him to come up with many projects for the capital of Russia.
His work often receives strong criticism from the public for its pompous and out of proportion sculptures. One of his best known and largest works is certainly the statue of Peter the Great in Moscow, a 94 meters high statue celebrating the 300 years of the Russian navy.
According to popular rumours, the statue initially represented Christopher Colombus, but after being refused by the American government, the head was changed and the statue sold to the Russian government. It is also said that Moscow offered the Statue to St. Petersburg, but the authorities of the city refused it.
He was offered to take the original architect of the new Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Aleksey Denisov, when the construction was already well advanced and made few changes, as for example the modern bronze reliefs which have replaced the original marble ones.
The bronze statues representing characters from Russian fairy-tales decorating the fountain on Manezhnaya Square is also part of his work.
If you plan to visit to the Museum of Modern Art, have a look in the little yard in which the museum stands. You will see many works of art from Zurab Tsereteli, including a set of monuments called “towns-people”,
a sculpture of Russian singer Vladimir Vysotsky
or a monument dedicated to the characters of the movie “Mimino”.