This is an oil painting on canvas by Russian artist Boris Kustodiev (1878 – 1927), depicting a scene from the triumphant Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917.
It is a work that presents us with an image of Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russia of the Tsars, where the government palace was stormed. And we see that city in a scene that is both very realistic, as if the painter had seen it from his window. But to that verismo character is added the surreal touch that gives the figure of that giant that goes through the streets.
That giant obviously symbolizes the unstoppable advance of the communist revolution, which is identified with that face so similar to that of Lenin, and with the red flag that surrounds everything, both the old palaces where the tsarist power, like the crowd that floods the city and remains under the protection of that flag and the giant. By the way, this image could be related to the bombast of Soviet art that abounded years later, starting in the 1930s, but the truth is that in the case of Kustodiev's Bolshevik dominates the artistic factor over the propagandistic.
This painter was certainly involved in the Russian Revolution, although it is true that since 1916 he was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. What did not prevent him from continuing to work on painting, bothmaking portraits as providing emblematic images to the revolutionary process.
Because we must bear in mind that his illness was added to the fact that the Revolution caused him to reduce his income as a portrait artist, since that work was obviously for a bourgeois clientele that disappeared. However, Kustodiev's work was highly diversified, since in addition to being a portrait painter, he also made a living as a book illustrator, and even as an outstanding theater set designer, and he continued to do all of this for years despite his illness. that already began to manifest itself very seriously in 1909, until finally it totally immobilized his body from the waist down, so that since 1916 he hardly left his home.
Contrary to what it might seem, during the years that he was physically handicapped, it was the time when he painted the most cheerful works of his. Cheerful both for the themes he de alt with and for his coloring based on vibrant and very lively tones, which sometimes gives his paintings a certain naive touch.