The Bolshevik. 1920
101 х 140.5 Oil on canvas

Kustodiev is known as an original chronicler of merchant life. In the Soviet period, the artist turned to the topic of revolution. Kustodiev, confined to a wheelchair, could observe the events of the February Revolution of 1917 only from the window. He wrote about his impressions: “It is still in full swing here, the streets are still full of people ... I have never complained so much about my life which does not allow me to go out into the street – after all, you have to wait for “such” a street for ages”. Kustodiev perceived a revolution as a spontaneous, gigantic, popular revolt. The artist expressed his perception in the symbolic image of a peasant man’s mighty figure with a banner in his hands, towering over the city and people. According to the master, he wanted to express “the spontaneous in Bolshevism”.

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