Monday, August 20, 2007

Spiritual leaders of the Soviets!

Courageously and irresistibly we fight and stab,
We are Suvorov’s grandchildren and Chapaev’s sons.
Kukryniksy, 1941

Here is a good one. This poster is dated 1941, when the Fascist Germany was attacking Soviet Union, and the Russians could hardly stop the offensive.

Joseph Stalin quickly realized the propaganda potential of cinema. He personally supervised all the movies, which were produced in the country. In the late thirties the chances of war were high and Stalin ordered a number of large-scale movies based on historical events to be filmed. Among them there were three keystone biopics, which rapidly became part of Russian culture.

Alexander Nevsky” (1938) - a masterpiece created by Sergei Eisenstein (a revolutionary Soviet film director and film theorist) was about Alexander Nevsky - a talented medieval Russian military leader and politician, who managed to smash well equipped German invaders in 1242 at The Battle of the Ice.

“Suvorov” (1941) depicted life of Alexander Suvorov (1729-1800) who was a brilliant Russian general and strategist, reportedly not loosing a single battle.

“Chapaev” (1934) was about Vasily Chapayev – a hero of Russian Civil War, who did a great job of defeating the Whites. Due to this film Chapaev became a cultural phenomenon and a hero of thousands of jokes, which are still popular in Russia.

You can see these three historical figures in red inspiriting soviet soldiers on the poster.

Of course all these historical events were heavily edited to bring forward the main idea: Russian army is truly invincible, guided by “the great helmsman” Joseph Stalin.

The poster was created by a caricaturist group “Kukriniksy”, which were extremely popular in the Soviet Union. “Kukriniksy” is a collective name of three artists – Mikhail Kupriayanov, Porfiri Krylov and Nikolai Sokolov. Their satirical works bashing fascist leaders received international acclaim during the WW2.

P.S. I have just started another poster blog: Posters of Cuba - The Crimson Dawn Island. It will be updated 2 or 3 times a week. You can subscribe here. Cuban posters are not as known as the Soviet or, say, German propaganda, but in no way they are less inspiring. They are bright, colorful, energetic. I am sure you'll like Posters of Cuba project.

And many thanks for coming! It is a pleasure that you all like this beautiful poster art! ;)