Sculptor Tsereteli Zurab Konstantinovich: a biography, creativity

the Name of Zurab Tsereteli is known worldwide. It graphic art leaves no one indifferent: either you love or hate just as passionately. The sculptor has lived a full life, full of creativity, and today he continues to work intensively, taking part in social activities.

Origin and childhood

Born Zurab Tsereteli January 4, 1934 in Tbilisi in the Georgian family with princely roots. His father belonged to an ancient princely family, as well as the mother. The father of the future sculptor was working as a civil engineer, mother was a homemaker. A lot of time in the childhood, Zurab spent in the house of his uncle on the maternal side – George Nizharadze, an artist. His house was filled with special creative atmosphere, it was often visited by Georgian artist Sergo Kobuladze, Ucha Japaridze, Davit Kakabadze. They saw the talent in the boy and became his first teachers.


After high school, the future sculptor Tsereteli enrolled in the Tbilisi Academy of arts, Department of painting. And all his life he considers himself primarily a painter and then a sculptor, a muralist. Graduated Zurab in 1958. Six years later, during which time he worked as an artist-architect in the Institute of history, archeology and Ethnography at the Georgian Academy of Sciences, he was sent to study in France. During this trip Tsereteli able to communicate with a large number of famous painters and artists, including Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, who appreciated the talent of the budding Georgian artist.

the Path to great art

Since the late 60-ies Tsereteli attracts a monumental work and mosaic. The sculptor has a great work ethic and high productivity, so he manages to create such a large number of works. Among the first works which brought him fame was the design project of resort complex in Pitsunda (1967), a series of mosaic and stained-glass compositions in Tbilisi (1972), the original children's resort town of Adler (1973). The implementation of such major projects Tsereteli has opened access to even more serious work. He carries out orders for the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the USSR, where he worked as chief artist. Significant was the work of Zurab on the design of the Olympic games and the development of the project of the hotel complex «Moscow» in Moscow in 1980.
In the next 10 years numerous monuments Tsereteli appear in Russia and abroad. Fascinate his designs of metal, it makes a lot of large-scale monuments several pilot projects with stained glass. In the early 90-ies Tsereteli moved to Moscow, where with the active support of mayor Yuri Luzhkov creates many monumental compositions for the Russian capital.
Also for many years Zurab creates sculptural portraits of contemporaries, established in many cities of the country and the world.
most Important part of his oeuvre he considers Tsereteli painting. During his long life he wrote more than 5,000 paintings on various topics. His works are in many private and public collections in the world.

Religious theme in the work of Tsereteli

the most Important theme in the art of Zurab Tsereteli is faith. He was actively involved in the restoration of the temple of Christ the Savior, changing the original plan. It caused indignation of historians, but Yuri Luzhkov took the side of the painter, sculptor and adjustments left. Zurab Konstantinovich has repeatedly addressed religious topics. So, he created a monument to Pope John Paul II. But the most extensive was the sculpture of Jesus Christ. The artist conceived her for the Olympic Sochi, but to establish there a monument failed. Later Jesus Christ Zurab Tsereteli tried to install in St. Petersburg, but even there he did not fit into the landscape. This is not surprising because the height of the monument together with the pedestal is 80 meters.

Peter the great

Sculptor Tsereteli always gravitated to large-scale structures, and in 1997 he received from the Moscow government Grand order. On an artificial island in the Moscow river, he was instructed to build a large-scale sculpture. So there monument to Peter the great. Its height is 98 meters. The erection of the monument caused great indignation among the public, and after the departure of Luzhkov as mayor there were suggestions to remove the monument. However, no one took on this responsibility and expense, and the monument still stands in Moscow.

Famous works

In a huge heritage Tsereteli difficult to identify the most significant: the list is a very long one. However, the most high-profile and large-scale creations include the following:
memorial monument on Poklonnaya hill in Moscow.
shopping Mall "Ryad" in Moscow.
the monument «Friendship forever”, dedicated to the Russian-Georgian friendship (Moscow)
the sculptures on Manezhnaya square in Moscow;
composition “Good triumphs over evil” in new York;
- two versions of the sculpture “the Birth of a New Man” in Paris and in Seville;
- sculpture “Bunny” in Baden-Baden;
- monument to Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya in Ruza.

Public opinion and criticism

Often monuments Tsereteli cause very large resonance, criticism and even rejection. Many of his creations had caused great public excitement and of a negative assessment from the experts. So, a lot of criticism got him the work on the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which the sculptor made a very serious deviation from the reconstruction project, which broke the historical image of the restored object. About his monument to Peter the great has not spoken just lazy: Tsereteli was accused of violating historical perspective of the city, kitsch and bad taste. Famous work “Tears of sorrow”, which the master wanted to give US in memory of the victims of September 11, caused a lot of controversy, which led to the fact that several cities refused the gift, and the sculptor had to spend a lot of time to find the monument place. The same story was repeated with the figure of Jesus Christ in Russia. Many critics say that artistic ability Tsereteli does not exceed the average graphic designer. And psychiatrists seriously think about the complexes of the artist, looking at his passion for giant structures.

the Museum of modern art

Zurab Tsereteli, whose works are represented in many countries around the world, created the Museum to promote their own creativity. Mayor Luzhkov has allocated for the Museum Tsereteli several buildings in the center of Moscow. Here is a personal collection of the sculptor, consisting of 2000 works of art, and the collection is regularly updated. Today the Museum has an extensive collection of works of Russian art, including an interesting set of works by Soviet nonconformists and contemporary artists. A separate building holds a permanent exhibition of Zurab Tsereteli, located on three floors of the Museum workshop. Here you can trace the tendencies of development of the talent of the master. The Museum carries out educational activity.

Social activity

Zurab Tsereteli is always a lot of time and effort spent on social activities. He considers it his duty to help people, to educate the younger generation. For a time he taught at Tbilisi Academy of arts, now gives master-classes in educational institutions of the world. Tsereteli is President of the International Fund, an honorary member of many academies of fine arts of the world, he was appointed goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, President of the Russian Academy of arts. He even visited by the Deputy of the State Duma and a member of the Public chamber of the Russian Federation.


Sculptor Tsereteli for his violent and productive activities awarded an incredible number of distinctions, awards and prizes to list them all for very long. The most significant awards include the title of Hero of Socialist labor, people's artist of Georgia, USSR, the Russian Federation, Lenin and State prize. Tsereteli – commander of the order of Lenin, Friendship of peoples, «For merit» first, second and third degree. He is also the holder of the orders of Moscow, the Chechen Republic, the Orthodox Church and many countries of the world. It is over ten honorary titles, won over ten different awards, the 12 signs of the differences from foreign States.


Sculptor Tsereteli – a happy family man. His wife, Inessa Andronikashvili A., also belongs to an ancient princely family. The couple have a daughter Elena, art critic working today. From Tsereteli three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.