Monday, December 10, 2007

Silence is gold

Keep your mouth shut!
N. Vatolina, N. Denisov, 1941

The energetic verse says the following:

Keep your eyes open.
These days
Even the walls have ears.
Chatter and gossip

Go hand in hand with
Treason.

This is one of the most famous posters of the WW2. It was created by Nina Vatolina, a Soviet poster artist. After the break of War Vatolina along with other artists started making artworks, which covered the most acute topics both of battle front and home front. This one was aimed at increasing vigilance. It shows a working woman in kerchief, who holds her finger to lips, which is a gesture for silence. The face pictured had a real prototype, who turned out to be Vatolina’s neighbor. Her sons were at battle-front, so her stare did have a certain attitude.

The verse was written by Samuil Marshak – a Soviet poet, who is most known as the author of numerous fairy tales and poems for children. During the War he was busy writing satire and pamphlets as well as collaborating with various poster artists, including Kukriniksy (see their posters). Also, during his life Marshak did brilliant translations of Robert Burns, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Alan Milne and Rudyard Kipling.

Nowadays this poster has a new life as it turns out to be quite popular in Russia and abroad. In the era of strict corporate policies and constant privacy infringement “Keep your mouth shut” slogan does make sense, you know.

Buy this very poster at allposters here!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have this poster in enameled metal...bought from Sovietski. "Don't babble"...they had it as "Don't gossip."

She's very serious. I have it hung on my wall next to my computer. Split complements again.

Big Frank Dickinson said...

Very intimidating stare indeed!

Anonymous said...

Just for your info: This poster now is utilised by the main graphical identity by the 'Silver Rain' Moscow FM radio

posters said...

Hey, this is really a wonderful poster, which I would like to buy, Thanks for giving this info.

Supawat said...

I totally love your blog! I have this very poster on my door (from Mayakovsky Museum), trying to silence my neighbours! lol