Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Morning of Our Motherland

I was watching a History channel special on Socialist Realism art of the Soviet Union and this was one of the grand canvases that is now stuffed away in the Tretyakov State Gallery.  The painter was Fyodor Shurpin and he had a wonderful eye for detail, right down to the secret service black car on the road to Stalin's right.  To the left, one sees a row of combines turning over the field of golden wheat, which became symbolic of Stalin's Soviet Union.  Утро нашей Родины is from 1949, with Stalin radiating a post-war confidence.  It is also known as Dawn of our Fatherland and other titles.

Shurpin was one of the better artists to carry over from the pre-war years.  The narrator pointed out how socialist realist art changed dramatically as a result of the war, becoming much more static and propagandist in appearance.  He pointed to two stops along the Moscow subway as an example of this divide.  Here, Shurpin essentially transposes Stalin for an earlier "Mother" image,

Interesting that she is more firmly rooted in the earth, where Stalin looks like he is standing before the canvas.  Even the light seems artificial, meant to further accentuate him as a "heroic figure" rather than link him to Mother Russia.

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