Yakov Kokovin was born and raised in the kingdom of stone. From the cradle he was surrounded by people who knew, understood and loved the stone. The marble was still working his grandfather Efstafy Kokovin. With sixteen years went «kamenotesnym pupil» on Gornoschitsky marble works and the father of Jacob Basil Efstafevich. Within a few years it «on knowledge of lapidary arts» transferred to Yekaterinburg Lapidary Works. Here Basil Kokovin became an apprentice and then master. With him in the early years of the XIX century «kamenodelnoe Art was presented at the factory «in the most flourishing condition». And for the execution of four jasper vases he was awarded «gold watch with such a chain».
Vasily Efstafevich and son James from an early age and start to teach to the stone, and «European artists».
Ural teenager serf and son of a serf lucky.
The case has thrown a gifted boy of twelve from the distant Yekaterinburg in the center of artistic life in Russia: among the eight lucky taken in the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1799, appears and son Ural artisan James V. Kokovin.
In January 1800 President of the Academy of Fine Arts was the Count Alexander Stroganov, and having previously been an honorary member. Representative of the dynasty’s richest tycoons Ural, he has long patronized the arts. Stroganov was not just a generous patron of Russian and Soviet art historians consider him a fairly large connoisseur and a connoisseur of art. Hundreds of masterpieces of European painting and sculpture were collected in a luxurious Stroganov Palace, designed by the famous Rastrelli on the corner of Nevsky Prospect and the Moika. This palace is called «temple dedicated to the Muses», «the focus of a true taste». It housed one of the world’s largest private collections of paintings and sculptures, the best library in Russia, a unique collection of gems, medals, coins, rich mineralogical cabinet. Stroganov Palace attracted the cream of Russian culture. Among them were artists Levitsky, Ivanov, Egorov, Shchukin, sculptors Martos, Galberg, poets, Derzhavin Gnedich Krylov, composer Boltyanskii, Voronihin architect, mathematician Euler, Academician Pallas.
Alexander Stroganov had a flair for talent. President of the Academy of Arts at the same time served as a director and chief of the expedition marble quarries and mines colored stones in the Perm region, in its submission was and Yekaterinburg Lapidary Works.
The majestic building on the waterfront of Vasilevsky Island, the entrance of which gleamed inscription «Free European artists», For seven years was home to Jacob Kokovina.
Academy then experienced the best of its time. No wonder critics call the first decade of the last century it «the golden age»: The atmosphere of creative research, talented teachers and talented students
Surrounded by art Jacob Kokovina not only the Academy, but also beyond its walls. At that time, many of the buildings were erected, which determined the unique architectural appearance of the northern capital. The city itself looked like an art studio.
On the spit of Vasilievsky Island would grow like a Greek temple exchange building, decorated with sculptural groups, and brownish-red rostral columns. Ready to replace the Admiralty. On Nevsky Prospekt rose Scaffold Kazan Cathedral, which has already seen through the grandeur and elegance of the development. And he was in St. Petersburg stone surrounded Jacob everywhere: the cold shine of polished columns and sculptures, roughly hewn, rough, with sparks crystals stone quays and jetties.
Uralets studied with diligence, learning program of two classes modelernogo and sculptural. In September 1804 he was awarded the contest to the second silver medal «for leplenie from nature»A year later the first silver medal. At the final examination in 1806 Kokovin received a gold medal. «Awarded the first degree certificate, complained swords and rank 14th class and assigned to foreign lands», According to the documents.
How tempting then represented their future Jacob Kokovin! Several years in Italy, with its colorful ancient but eternally beautiful ancient culture He will return there as a mature sculptor, will perform at the Academy of the program on the title of academician and will be able to take up the post of Associate Professor, and eventually a professor of higher academic rank then
But with overseas trip Kokovina bad luck with it in 1806 because of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe temporarily stopped from traveling abroad graduates of the Academy of Arts. Stroganov, would gifted Urals, defined it a bronze factory at the Academy. It seems he’s got good at it, some of the named kokovinskie «significant» and taken to «Imperial Hermitage».
Go abroad failed and the next year: Situation in Europe continued to be tense. In August 1807 Stroganov let Kokovina in Yekaterinburg «for family visits». In addition, he was instructed to «inspect for producing ornamental lapidary factory and smooth things, to give them a proper direction and teach the rules of drawing and lepleniya of wax and clay and carving in marble able to engage in that of an artisan».
This trip was planned, obviously, as a temporary. But first, Jacob detained in Yekaterinburg father’s illness and then death of the patron Count Stroganoff. Then came the war with Napoleon Back to the Academy and all the more to make a trip abroad to improve artistic skills and failed
But, perhaps, fortune decreed right? Hardly Kokovin would sculptor of the first magnitude. And here at home, like Antaeus touching paternal land, he became the first artist to stone.
In Yekaterinburg for Kokovina for stone-carving artist offers a unique opportunity. In those years it was a major center of Ekaterinburg lapidary art. There was, however, the Peterhof Lapidary Factory, created by Peter I. But in the early decades of the XIX century it represented «spectacle worthy of regret».