Sergey Dmitrievich Merkurov was a prominent Soviet sculptor-monumentalist of Greek-Armenian descent. He was a People's Artist of the USSR, an academic at the Soviet Academy of Arts, and director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts from 1944 to 1949. Merkurov was considered the greatest Soviet master of post-mortem masks. He was the sculptor of the three biggest monuments of Joseph Stalin in the USSR. He was the cousin of George Gurdjieff, a mystic and spiritual teacher.
In 1984 the Merkurov Museum was opened in his family house in Gyumri. The post-mortem masks of 59 Soviet leaders and famous people are displayed in the museum, including the only original death mask of Lenin.