Lives of the Artists XI

As you can imagine, artist life under Communism was no different from that under aristocratic control – one was not only beholden to one’s patrons, one found one’s freedom curtailed in often overt ways. In the 1920s, Red Army generals were notably paternalistic in their support for the arts. Voroshilov and Budenny were two such enthusiastic generals, and the artist Pavel Radimov mentions an encounter with them in his memoirs:

I went to see him in his small room at the National Hotel [in Moscow] to talk about the proposed Red Army exhibition [that of 1923]. I did a sketch painting of Voroshilov, and also of Budenny, who was there at the same time. Comrade Budenny jokingly commented that it was much easier to take part in a battle than to pose for a painting. On looking at the study I had done be became carried away, and, seizing the brush, corrected his portrait a little. I left the hotel inspired by the comradely conversation I had had.

Sure, and I’m sure he appreciated the ‘correction’ Budenny provided.

[From Matthew Cullerne Bown, Brandon Taylor (editors), Art of the Soviets: Painting, sculpture and architecture in a one-party state, 1917-1992.]

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