Zurab Tsereteli

For Georgian footballer, see Zurab Semyonovich Tsereteli.
Zurab Tsereteli

Zurab Tsereteli in 2014
Born Zurab Konstantines dze Tsereteli
(1934-01-04) January 4, 1934
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Notable work The Peter the Great Statue,
Birth of the New World,
Tear of Grief

Zurab Konstantines dze Tsereteli (Georgian: ზურაბ კონსტანტინეს ძე წერეთელი, Russian: Зураб Константинович Церетели; born January 4, 1934) is a Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor and architect known for large-scale and at times controversial monuments. Tsereteli has served as the President of the Russian Academy of Arts since 1997.


Tsereteli was born in Tbilisi and graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, but soon relocated to Moscow. Among his works from the Soviet period was a resort for children in Sochi, completed in 1986. His wife was Princess Andronikashvili, from a noble Georgian family that claims patrilineal descent from Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos.

Although much of his career was dogged by controversy, Tsereteli came to befriend Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who secured some important commissions for him, including the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Manege Square ensemble and the War Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora. Luzhkov also allowed him to occupy an old mansion in downtown Moscow, which now houses the Zurab Tsereteli Gallery and where his life-size statue of Vladimir Putin is on display.

He is acquainted with Eunice Kennedy Shriver through the Special Olympics. He designed and installed a monument (called Happiness to the Children of the World) on the campus of SUNY Brockport commemorating the 1979 Special Olympics and the International Year of the Child.[1]

In March 2014 he signed a letter in support of the position of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.[2]



Cultural references

As a reflection of his controversial reputation, a satiric short story describing Tsereteli as an alien installing a beacon through his various sculptures was published by Boris Akunin in his anthology Fairy Tales for Idiots (Russian: Сказки для идиотов, Skazki dlya idiotov). The alien's name is given as Yagkfi Yeyukuyeudsh (Russian: Ягкфи Еыукуеудш), a seemingly gibberish-like combination which actually spells out "Zurab Tsereteli" when typed on a Latin QWERTY keyboard by hitting the keys where the corresponding Russian characters would be located.


Tsereteli's works, though often welcomed by the authorities, tend to become objects of strong public criticism. His sculptures are often blamed and mocked for being incongruously pompous and out of proportion.[10]

Honours and awards


  1. "Joy and Happiness to All Children of the World - Rochester Public Art Catalog". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  2. http://mkrf.ru/press-tsentr/novosti/ministerstvo/deyateli-kultury-rossii-v-podderzhku-pozitsii-prezidenta-po-ukraine-i-krymu
  3. Belinda Goldsmith (2008-11-14). "Travel Picks: 10 top ugly buildings and monument". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  4. Frank Graud Carrau (2008-08-15). "Estatua de Colón se muda a Mayagüez" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  5. "Comienzan a elevar famosa estatua de Cristóbal Colón" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. 2014-04-02. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  6. "Christopher Columbus statue welcomed in Puerto Rico after US cities rejected it". The Guardian. 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  7. Bunina, Maria, "View from within: A house for music", Vedomosti (February 4, 2009)
  8. Robert Ayers (July 31, 2006). "Famed Russian Sculptor Crafts Giant Teardrop in Memory of 9/11". ARTINFO. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  9. 1 2 Pulse magazine, St. Petersburg, October 2006
  10. "Tsereteli Museum Moscow - Russia - Local Life".
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