Renowned sculptor and Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Arts, national artist of the RSFSR and USSR Lev Yefimovich Kerbel was born on November 7 (according to the Old Style, October 25), 1917, in the settlement of Semyonovka of Ukraine's Chernigov province.
In the winter of 1934 he was sent to Moscow by a regional Komsomol (Young Communists' Union) committee to show his first work - a bas-relief portrait of Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924). There he met Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin's widow, who was insightful enough to reveal a talent in the youth and tell him to go to known sculptor Sergei Merkurov with a letter of recommendation from her. It was quite soon that Lev Kerbel became a student of the All-Russian Academy of Arts, and then of Moscow's Vasily Surikov Artistic Institute.
His studies were interrupted by the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). In 1942, he volunteered for the frontline service; he served as an artist in the Northern Fleet, took part in crusades on torpedo ships Razumny and Gremyashchy, on motor torpedo boats, engaged in fighting with paratroopers. He was awarded with the prestigious military order of the Red Star and a badge "For accompanying transport with food and ammunition." In war years Lev Kerbel, on an instruction by the Fleet Commander, painted portraits of his frontline comrades, warriors, to immortalise them. These pictures of Northern Fleet heroes are the dearest to the sculptor's heart. In 1945 the Command of the Soviet Troops headquartered in Germany ordered Lev Kerbel to build, together with his friend and colleague Vladimir Tsigal, a monument in commemoration of the Berlin storm heroes, to be mounted in Berlin's Tiergarten park.
They created monuments to Soviet liberator warriors in Kuestrin and on the Seelov Heights at the same time.
After the war Lev Kerbel returned to the Moscow Institute of Arts and graduated from it in 1948. He was the author of over 50 monuments and memorials erected in many cities of the country and abroad.
Throughout all his creative life Lev Kerbel worked on images of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. His work to make pictures of Lenin was really multifaceted. Based on his drafts, memorials to Lenin in Moscow, Smolensk, Leninskiye Gorky, Kemerovo, Poltava (Ukraine), Syktyvkar, Lipetsk, as well as in the Bulgarian and Cuban capitals - Sofia and Havana (together with Antonio Kintana).
Since 1962 professor Kerbel headed a sculpture workshop in the Vasily Surikov Moscow Artistical Institute, being at the same time a member of the Northern Fleet Council's Veterans.
Lev Yefimovich Kerbel is a hero of Socialist Labour, a winner of the Lenin and the State Prizes of the USSR, a laureate of the Goethe Prize (Germany), vice-president and member of the Russian Academy of Arts. He was awarded the orders of Lenin, Labour Red Banner, of the Patriotic War, second grade, Red Star, Peoples' Friendship, "For Services Before Fatherland", third grade, and many medals, including "For Moscow Defence", "For Defence of Soviet Transpolar Territories", "For Seizure of Berlin", as well as Israeli, Sri-Lanka and German prizes
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