Nikolai Ivanovich Utkin (19 May 1780, Tver — 17 March 1863, Saint Petersburg) was a Russian graphic artist, engraver and illustrator. He also served as curator of prints at the Hermitage and superintendent of the museum at the Imperial Academy of Arts.
His mother was a serf on the estate of the poet Mikhail Nikitich Muravyov, who is generally assumed to have been his father. She was later given in marriage to Muravyov's chamberlain, Ivan Utkin. Shortly after Nikolai's birth, they moved to Saint Petersburg. In 1785, he was manumitted and began his education at the Imperial Academy which, at that time, had a primary school.
At the age of fourteen, having shown a talent for drawing, he was transferred to the engraving school, where he studied with Antoine Radigues (1721-1809) and the German engraver, Ignatz Klauber (1753-1817). Four years later, he created eighteen engravings of antique statues, which earned him a gold medal and the right to continue at the Academy for three more years. However, in 1802, he was awarded another gold medal that also conferred the right to travel abroad and he took advantage of that right as soon as possible; leaving for Paris in 1803.
Once there, he was engaged at the workshop of Charles Clément Balvay (known as "Bervic"), where he helped fulfill orders as well as study. In 1810, he exhibited at the Salon, receiving a gold medal from the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the title of "Academician" from the Imperial Academy. During the French invasion of Russia, he was under house arrest and police surveillance for two years, until Napoleon's defeat.
He returned to Saint Petersburg upon his release and, after Klauber's death, took his positions at the Academy and the Hermitage. In 1819, he was appointed official engraver to the Tsar, at a salary of 3,000 rubles per year. His best-known students at the Academy included Antoni Oleszczyński, Fyodor Iordan and Georg Johann Heitman. In addition to his regular engravings, he provided illustrations for works by Vasily Zhukovsky and Gavrila Derzhavin, as well as a translation of the Iliad by Nikolai Gnedich.
He became a Professor in 1831 and was named Professor Emeritus in 1840 but, at that point, he was already past the height of his creative powers. In 1850, he handed over his engraving class to Iordan. In 1860, the Academy honored him with an embossed gold medallion. His last known work, a depiction of the Holy Family, was completed just before his death in 1863.
The State Museum of City Sculptures was founded in 1932 dedicated to the study, restoration and protection of city sculptures and gravestones and the museum is responsible for the upkeep of many of St Petersburg's most famous sculptures. The museum has several branches around St Petersburg, but the main ones are concentrated within the former territory of the Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra which was granted to the museum upon its founding.
The Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra's Tikhvinskoe Cemetery was established in 1823 and named after the Our Lady of Tikhvin Church which was built here between 1869 and 1873. In 1931 the church was closed and in 1932 the cemetery became a branch of the State Museum of City Sculptures, known as the Necropolis of Masters of Culture. The branch is so named as many leading figures of Russian culture have been laid to rest here including: writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Karamzin and Ivan Krylov; composers Aleksandr Borodin, Mikhail Glinka, Modest Musorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky; and artists Boris Kustodiev, Ivan Kramskoy and Ivan Shishkin, among many more famous names.