Monday, June 25, 2012

The Art Dictator's Art

Aleksander Gerasimov (1881-1963) was an important Socialist Realist painter. As his Wikipedia entry states, "His heavy-handed leadership of the Union of Artists of the USSR and the Soviet Academy of Arts were [sic] notorious..."

More details on his career can be found here.

I am no fan of centralized authority in any form, so I offer the following Gerasimov paintings, technically well-done though some of them might be, as examples of what gets produced under authoritarian circumstances.


Lenin on the Tribune - 1930

Stalin at the 18th Party Congress

I.V. Stalin and K.E.Voroshilov in the Kremlin After the Rain - 1938
This painting won Gerasimov an important prize, though it's hard to understand why. Maybe Stalin liked the way his likeness was painted.

Portrait of the Ballet Dancer Olga Lepeshinskaya - 1939
A welcome break from Socialist Realism.

The Meeting of F.D. Roosevelt and the Shaw of Iran - 1944
This would be related to the Teheran Conference of 1943. So the subject is political, but in no way glorifies the Soviet regime.

Peonies - 1952
In his spare time, Gerasimov set politics and Socialist Realism aside to do a little Post-Impessionism for his own purposes.


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