Lev Kerbel

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Lev Kerbel's Monumental Bust of Karl Marx in Chemnitz, Germany
The Lenin Monument in Parque Lenin, Havana, Cuba (1984, sculptor - Lev Kerbel, architect - A.Quintana)
The Lenin Monument in Parque Lenin, Havana, Cuba (1984, sculptor - Lev Kerbel, architect - A.Quintana)

Lev Efimovich Kerbel (Russian: Лев Ефимович Кербель; November 7 [O.S. October 25] 1917 - 14 August 2003) is a renowned sculptor of Soviet realist works. Kerbel's creations included statues of Marx, Lenin and Yuri Gagarin, which were sent to socialist countries across the world. Many of his works of art were destroyed in the years following the collapse of the socialist block, but his enormous Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, formerly "Karl Marx Stadt", has been preserved as a cultural monument.

Kerbel was born to a Russian Jewish family in the village of Semenovka in Chernigov Gubernia, Russian Empire (currently Ukraine), on the day that Saint Petersburg's Winter Palace was stormed by the Bolsheviks. Lev's family moved to Russia's Smolensk region there he began sculpting as a child. He continued to sculpt and in 1934 he won an award from the Komsomol (Young Communist League) for a plaque of Lenin.

During the World War II, Kerbel helped build the defenses for the Battle of Moscow, then served in the Northern Fleet, gaining renown as a military artist.

After the war, Kerbel's career took off with a wide range of commissions. In 1958 he sculpted a statue in Shanghai that depicted a huge Soviet and an equally large Chinese worker hand in hand. When Soviet-Chinese relations foundered a few years later, the statue was torn down by a mob.

Kerbel's work is dismissed by many as simply Communist propaganda, however Kerbel claims that he was always more interested in art than politics. Many people now view his few remaining statues with nostalgia, particularly in Chemnitz, where his bust of Karl Marx is referred to as 'the head.'

Another example of Lev Kerbel's sculptures is the Lenin Monument in the Parque Lenin area of Havana, Cuba.

Honours and awards[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Russian Wikipedia.