The name of Andrey Korobtsov is now well known to the residents of the Tver region. This young sculptor is the author of the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier, a beautiful monument that has become the largest monument in the history of modern Russia.
Architect Konstantin Fomin worked with him on the memorial. This collaboration, which began several years ago, has proven to be very fruitful. The creative tandem has implemented a number of major projects, including a monument to the front dog on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow, a monument to the Greek Legion of Emperor Nicholas I in Sevastopol, monuments to metallurgists (Tula), Princess Olga Konstantinovna Romanova (Thessaloniki), Ivan III (Kaluga), Hero of the Soviet Union to Khanpasha Nuradilov (Grozny), General Pyotr Kotlyarevsky (Feodosia).
The most significant work of the sculptor and architect was the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier, opened in June 2020. For obvious reasons, the monuments themselves cannot be placed at the exhibition, but in order to acquaint the viewer with this most important aspect of Andrei Korobtsov’s activities, they were shown in photographs, as well as in the form of projects and sketches.
The exposition, which can be seen in the Rzhev Exhibition Hall since February 19, is called “Frontiers”.
The military-historical theme, to which most of the monumental works are devoted, is the main one in his easel work. This direction, as the artist himself said, was already indicated by his early student works, including the image of the legendary Ryazan boyar Yevpatiy Kolovrat and his thesis “Yevgeny Rodionov”, dedicated to a soldier of the First Chechen War.
Visitors to the exhibition will learn about the other side of the master’s work when they get acquainted with the ballet series of works. It is associated with the appearance in the life of the sculptor of the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater Evgenia Obraztsova, who in 2014 became his wife and served as a prototype and model for most of the works of the ballet cycle. The theme of the ballet brought into Andrey’s work not only the graceful plasticity of the dance, but also the renewal of techniques: the use of suspended structures and inlaid with precious stones.
On the opening day of the exhibition, the correspondent of “MK in Tver” asked the artist a few questions.
– Andrey, why did you name your exhibition “Frontiers”?
– It seemed to me that this word corresponds to the nature of the exhibition. Firstly, there is the Rzhev Memorial, and, therefore, we are talking about the borders of the homeland. On the other hand, I wanted to show the boundaries of my creative path. Here are works, each of which I perceive as a step to a new stage of life.
– This is not your first personal exhibition?
– The fourth, it seems. The small size of the hall made me choose the best works.
– How many monuments have you made in total?
– Except for busts and memorial plaques, 25 completed projects.
– What is the place of the Rzhev Memorial among your works? Is he the biggest thing in terms of size?
– Yes. And in terms of importance it stands out among other works.
– Many of your works are directed to the military-historical events of our country. When did this theme prevail in your work?
– There are many competitions for monuments, we have the right to do what we like. I owe the choice of this direction to the Glazunov Art Academy, where I studied, and, in particular, to Ilya Sergeevich himself. At conferences he said that an artist should serve his people, I made these words my motto. He taught me to love my homeland. Despite the fact that Glazunov did not teach me, it was he who set the vector of motion for me. Sculptors Mikhail Olegovich Krasilnikov and Salavat Aleksandrovich Shcherbakov taught me to sculpt, but the ideological content came from the founder of the academy.
– Your new topic presented at the exhibition seems to run counter to the central one. What could be more opposite of war and its power than ballet, its fragility and beauty?
– I would say differently: what could be more Russian than ballet? This is such a rich plastically theme, you don’t have to invent anything here – you just take a beautiful movement and sculpt it. This appeared thanks to my wife. She invited me to her performance – and before that I had never been to a ballet. And I was just shocked. It is impossible not to be inspired by this. The ballet theme is represented by ten easel works, 50-60 cm in size, that is, a third of all exhibits.
– Can you imagine your ballerinas, in bronze or other metal, standing in the square?
– Perhaps something will appear. If it were not for the coronavirus, one job would already be in Marseille.