(b Aleksandropol’ [now Kumairi], Armenia, Nov 7, 1881; d Moscow, June 8, 1952).
Russian sculptor of Armenian birth. He came from a merchant’s family, and he studied in Zurich at the studio of the sculptor Adolf Meyer and in Munich at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (1902–5). Until 1909 he worked in Paris. He was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR) from 1925. He frequently made death-masks of eminent politicians, writers and artists. His works are based on a late Art Nouveau style, but the emphasis on the weight of the stone and the clear edges of the blocks (Merkurov’s favourite medium was granite) give the works an archaic heaviness of shape, which suggests a close study of ancient Egyptian and Assyrian sculpture and lends them a solemn grandeur.
The statue of the writer Fyodor Dostoeyevsky (1911–13; erected in 1918 in the courtyard of the Dostoeyevsky Hospital, formerly the Mariya Hospital, Moscow) and the statue of the botanist ...