Communists interrogated by Deineka

Communists interrogated by Deineka
Communists interrogated by Deineka

Painting in Russia during the first years of the communist regime had clear propaganda intentions. And in that there was a style that fit better than any other. We are talking about the realistic forms that we can see, for example, in paintings by artists such as Brodsky. Although this realism sometimes allowed true exaggerations to the greater glory of the Russian Revolution and its protagonists, as we can see in a work like Kustodiev's The Bolshevik.


Communists interrogated by Alexander Deineka

However, although the tone of propaganda in the Russian art of the 20s and 30s of the last century is somewhat generalized and realism the prevailing style, it is true that there are artists who had a contrasting personality that makes their works interesting because of the personal traits they bring.

An example might be Alexander Deineka (1899 – 1969). His is this large canvas (130 x 200 cm) that we show here and whose original can be seen in the Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg. A painting he made in 1933 that bears the title Interrogated Communists, and the sub title “In the May State of the Whites”, in clear allusion to the terminology of the Russian Revolution, where the communists were the reds and the tsarists the whites.

Deinekawhen he was very young he participated in that revolution on the communist side and also playedjournalist. So years later he painted pictures like these in which he supposedly captured memories of him. And he did it with the tone of praise towards the regime but with great expressiveness.

We see in the scene how a standing communist is interrogated while being threatened by several guns pointed at him. Instead he, who already knows the sad end of him, remains proud and firm. In absolute opposition to the characters that are at the table, in an attitude more of an after-dinner than of doing an interrogation. Several generals and soldiers appear there, as well as a priest from the Russian Orthodox Church. And on the white table cloth we see bottles of alcohol and cigarettes, just as on the left side of the canvas there is a woman, a prostitute who still reinforces the idea of ​​corruption in the system.

The speech and the message is quite clear. But the most valuable thing about the work is the peculiar composition used by the artist, with two groups. The one of the corrupt around the big white table and in the foreground. And that of the characters standing in the background, almost all of them against the light and with hardly any detail, except for the questioned character who, even in that dim light, we can distinguish his gesture of dignity and courage.

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