Depicting Yaroslav the Wise, this impressive, imposing terracotta bust, full of presence, was cast by Emile Muller (French, 1823-89) after a work by important Russian Imperial sculptor Mark Matveyevich Antokolsky.
Stately and regal yet expressive, the work depicts the Grand Duke of Kiev who reigned 1019-1054. A hugely important figure in Ukrainian and Russian history, responsible the 'Russian Truth', the earliest establishment of legal code in the history of the country, he has remained one of Ukraine's most popular historical figures, canonized by both Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches.
Yaroslav is depicted both as a military leader and great commander, but also as a serious, pensive, and kingly figure, appropriate for the man often considered responsible for Christianizing and enlightening all of greater Russia.
The present piece, stamped and inscribed for Emile Muller, also bears a signature of the artist, Mark Antokolsky, after whom the sculpture is taken.