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|Biography, personal exhibitions||Nikolai Shmatko|
"King of Marble or Nobody"
Shmatko Nikolai Gavrilovich, the King of Marble, a professor, was born and creates his works of art in Ukraine. The sons of Nikolai Shmatko – Rafael and Andrey Shmatko – participate in the implementation of their creative projects.
The life of Nikolai Shmatko is full of strange, sometimes mystical coincidences. He became a sculptor at the age of 33, and in 1996 he met the famous model and gallerist Dina Vierny in France, who predicted his great future and advised him "not to scatter his works worldwide" – during all his creative development Nikolai Shmatko has created more than 750 various monuments (low reliefs, high reliefs, sculptures, busts, etc.) and about 500 pictures without any support from the government or sponsors.
The author's collection, exposed in the gallery "Shmatko & Sons", consists of more than 80 sculptures made of Ural and Italian marble, and about 300 pictures (paintings, graphics, and architectural projects).
In 2000 Nikolai Shmatko was appointed to the position of a professor of the department of creative work and arts of the Institute of World Civilizations (Moscow).
In 2004 the Administration of Donetsk region and Father Superior of the Svyatogorsk Lavra charged Nikolai Shmatko with creation of a marble sculpture of "The Svyatogorsk Blessed Virgin" for Svyato-Uspensk Svyatogorsk Lavra.
In autumn of that year the restored Lavra and the majestic sculpture were opened. The height of The Blessed Virgin reached 4.2 m. Two blocks of Ural marble of 40 tons were used to create it.
For this immortal creation and for services to the Orthodox Church Nikolai Shmatko was awarded with the order of Saint Nestor the Chronicler of the III class. The award was solemnly presented to the King of Marble by the Beatified Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Vladimir.
In the autumn of 2005 the Transfiguration church was opened in the village of Keleberda, Poltava region. Exclusively for this church, the sculptor created a marble sculpture "The Crucifixion".
* The name of Nikolai Shmatko in Russian language equals to Mykola Shmatko in Ukrainian language.