I.Ginsburg was born in Hrodna into a poor Jewish family. Thanks to the famous sculptor Mark Antokolski who took care of the gifted boys, he managed to get away from the Pale and to come to St. Petersburg as Antokolski’s student, and then to spend three years in Italy. He studied at the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts and, at the same time, at the drawing school of the Society for Encouragement of Arts (1878–1886). In 1910 he implemented his first monumental project, a memorial to Gogol in the village of Sorochintsy (the location of the famous Sorochitsy Fairs) in the Poltava Region. In 1911, he received the title of Academician, in 1918 he became a professor. After the Revolution he taught at Petrograd State Free Studios Vkhutein from 1921 to 1925. In the Soviet times he did mostly monumental sculpturing, made memorial to G. Plekhanov (1925) and the chemist D.Mendeleyev (1932).
Widely known are his small-size (office) portraits and busts of the famous persons of Russian culture: writer L.N. Tolstoy (1891), painter V. Vereshchagin (Vereshchagin at Work, 1892), conductor A.Rubinstein (1891), lawyer V.D. Spasovich (1895), art critic V. Stasov (Stasov tombstone in St.Petersburg, 1908). His many portraits and groups (Boy about to Bathe,1886; Tailor are well known too. I.Ginzburg’s works are in museums of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
He died and was buried in St.Petersburg.