Iraklii Toidze, Under the banner of Lenin, under the leadership of Stalin - forward, to the victory of communism!, 1936
Posters on the theme of female delegates became popular in the mid-1930s. The woman delegate also became something of an archetype in painting at the same time. In fact, almost all delegates were women and the image of the female came increasingly to represent the stereotypic ‘Soviet citizen’ in visual culture.
This 1936 poster by renowned Georgian poster artist Iraklii Toidze depicts a female delegate from the 'exotic East', in at least some elements of traditional dress, addressing a multicultural crowd.
The delegate appears to be speaking in an animated and impassioned manner and the crowd are attentive and appreciative.
In fact, so persuasive is the delegate's rhetoric that Lenin leans forward out of his picture frame to listen in. Strangely, Stalin leans away from the women.
Although the poster employs an over-used and somewhat hackneyed caption - 'Under the banner of Lenin, under the leadership of Stalin - forward, to the victory of communism!' - the visual imagery is distinct and unusual.
The bodily positions of both Lenin and Stalin seem exaggerated, and the direction of the gaze of the three figures in the poster cause the eyes of the viewer to zig zag dramatically through the picture plane.
The poster was published in Moscow and Leningrad in an edition of 100,000 using the rotogravure technique. In rotogravure, an image is engraved onto a cylinder for use in a rotary press. These intaglio cylinders can usually run at high speeds and produce large editions.
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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SPotW65 Belopol'skii 1952
SPotW66 Dlugach 1933
SPotW67 Zhitomirskii 1942
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