Boris Mukhin, Long live the leader of the Soviet people - great Stalin!, 1947
This 'personality cult' poster of Stalin from 1947 is unusual for its time in that Stalin is depicted in his old-style 'Lenin suit', rather than military attire, and without insignia of rank.
Neither the image nor the text make reference to Stalin's role as the great and victorious warrior during the Great Patriotic War (Second World War).
Instead, a softer portrait of a greying Stalin is used. This portrait was painted by Paraskovia Pilipivna Deputatova, a Russian artist who also studied at the Kiev Art Institute between 1944 and 1946, when this portrait was created for Ukrainian publishing house Mistetstvo and reproduced in 1946 in an edition of 25,000, captioned by Stalin's name.
In Mukhin's poster, Stalin is framed in the sacred colours of the religious icon and socialism, red and gold, with perhaps only an oblique reference to past victories in the wreath beneath him.
The sixteen flags surrounding Stalin refer to the sixteen republics of the USSR in 1947:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Russian SFSR, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Visually, the poster is reminiscent of the candidate posters of Stalin that appeared in election years. Indeed, 1947 was an election year for the Supreme Soviets of the Soviet Union's constituent republics.
However, this poster was published in the Russian language in Moscow and Leningrad, in a fairly large edition of 300,000 and it is difficult to determine if it served any specific propaganda function.
The poster artist, Boris Mukhin, was a well-known graphic artist, painter and theatre artist who was active in the All-Union Art Exhibition in Moscow in 1949.
Dr Anita Pisch
Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.
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