Russian Bronze Group of Voevoda (Boyar Morozov)
Cast by Chopin after the model by Evgeny Lanceray, 1874
On a naturalistic oval base, cast as a bogatyr' in traditional dress, armed with a mace, sword and axe, on horseback; signed and struck with Finance Ministry stamp on base, with foundry mark Cyrillic F.Sh for Felix Chopin [Shopen] foundry. Height 16 inches (40.6 cm).
Sotheby's, London, November 30, 1990, lot 219
Sudbury, G.W., E.A. Lanceray: La Sculpture Russe du Cheval, Paris, 2006, pp. 107-108, this model illustrated p. 79.
L. A. Dementieva, Album of Models by the Sculptor Eugene Lanceray, Moscow, 2011, No. 16, pp. 62-64, a comparable model illustrated.
Boyar Morozov is a portrait of the bogatyr' Druzhina Andreyevich Morozov, one of the characters from the historical novel Prince Serebryany (1862) by Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1875). The heroine, Elena, marries Boyar Morozov in order to escape the attentions of Prince Vyazemsky. The character of the prince is based on the historical figure of Prince Afanasii Ivanovich Vyazemsky, an oprichnik and favorite of Tsar Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). In the story, Vyazemsky leaves with Elena, and although Morozov accuses him of kidnapping her, Vyazemsky claims she left with him willingly. The dispute is resolved by Tsar Ivan the Terrible, who orders the two men to fight in a duel.
Lanceray depicts the figure of Boyar Morozov with his hallmark precision, using details from the description in Tolstoy's novel. The work was conceived as companion piece to Oprichnik Prince Vyazemsky and both works were identified as "Prince Serebryany" in a photo album of Lanceray's sculpture which was inherited by the artist's descendants.
The exact date of production of Boyar Morozov is unknown, however, a cast in the collection of Kiev Museum of Russian Art dates the work to as early as 1873. In 1876, Boyar Morozov was one of the works in bronze exhibited by Chopin at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where the firm's bronzes drew the notice of critics and received excellent reviews. "Russia presented to the attention of the Judges an admirable and profuse display of fascinating examples of her manufactures," noted one review. "The bronzes from Felix Chopin, from St. Petersburg, by the artist Lancere [sic], though few in number were refreshingly original, of native subjects, so well modeled and of such artistic delicacy and expression as to add lustre to this inviting section, and always find appreciative observers." (Francis A. Walker, ed., International Exhibition, 1876, Reports and Awards, vol. V, Washington, 1880, p. 392).
According to the present owner, when he was preparing to bid on this work in 1990, he received a personal visit from the chief curator of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow which owns this model and a number of works by Lanceray. The curator said that, based on a good photograph, she thought it was a fine cast, particularly the detail and chasing of the old warrior's chainmail suit and saddle.
Comparable models of Boyar Morozov were sold Christie's, London, November 29, 2010, lot 445; Christie's, London, November 25, 2013, lot 353; Sotheby's, New York, April 15-16, 2008, lot 545; and Sotheby's, New York, April 22, 2009, lot 404.
C An Important Collection of Imperial Russian Bronzes from a Maryland Private Collection
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