Ivan the Terrible bust to headline Russian art auction at $150,000

A marble bust of Ivan the Terrible made in 1877 by Mark Antokolski (1843-1902) will highlight an auction of Russian Works of Art at Christie's on April 9.

It carries an estimate of $100,000-150,000.

Tsar Ivan IV (1530-1584) was the first emperor of a united Russia. He was a fearsome and formidable ruler, simultaneously devoutly religious and violently insane.

Ivan Terrible Christie's bust
The bust of Ivan the Terrible was executed by Mark Antokolski in 1877

Famously he murdered his son and heir Ivan Ivanovich by beating him over the head with his sceptre.

Despite his capricious nature he was popular among ordinary Russians for his efforts to diminish the power of the nobility.

Antokolski is credited with capturing the complexities of Ivan's character. He wrote at the time: "The whole day he spent observing tortures and executions, and during the night his tired soul and body demanded rest.

"And when all was quiet, his conscious and imagination tortured him, and those torments were worse than torture"

Versions of the bust in other materials (plaster and bronze) were exhibited throughout Europe, including in the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow and the V&A Museum in London.

A Portrait of IE Repin by Victor Vasnetov is also valued at $100,000-150,000.

Repin (1844-1930) was the most famous Russian painter of his era, famous for his realist depictions of scenes from Russian history.

Vasnetov (1848-1926) was a friend of Repin who worked primarily as a painter. The original plaster portrait stands in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

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