Worker and Collective Farm Girl.
Vera Ignat'evna MUKHINA
20th c Russian Social Realist Sculpture
(1889 - 1953)
Moscow. USSR Economic Achievements Exhibition Building. Russia.
The Russian Communists went all out in this work on which glorifies the industrial and agricultural workers. The scale is overwhelming as you can see by comparing the statue with the tiny people in the foreground.
This statue, as well as gigantic portraits of Lenin, can be interpreted as archetypal images. As Jaquetta Hawks points out in her introduction to "The World's Mythology":
"The primordial forms re-appear in secular dress... The most momentous can be found in communist states where revolution has at once stirred the depths of the psyche...There is no mistaking the proletariat as the host of the children of light, or the devilish aspect of the capitalist. Marx is perhaps one of those supreme sky gods who became remote from everyday affairs, while Lenin with his sacred tomb and his countless idols and icons is the undisguised father-creator god. These divinities are leading the children of light toward a golden age, a paradise, that is now set in the future."
I was very much struck by Hawks' comments because I recall my feelings when I visited the former USSR and heard children singing songs to Father Lenin whom, they said, will always be with us. The whole experience brought back vivid memories of the songs I sang as a child in Sunday School. There seem to be certain persistent longings in the human soul that have found continuous embodiment in the myths and religions, both sacred and secular, and it was the arts which were called upon to give concrete form to these archetypal images.
Lewis Mumford, in his book "The Condition of Man," addressed this problem in his rational for the study of history: "By lengthening the historic perspective, one gains power to throw off the partialities and relativities of one's immediate society; likewise, by facing the totality of human experience, one becomes aware of elements that the fashion or habit of one's own particular epoch may arbitrarily have neglected: archaic elements, primal elements, irrational elements, neglected mutations and concealed survivals, often overlooked by the wise in their too narrow wisdom."
MUKHINA Vera Ignat'evna | Worker and Collective Farm Girl. | c. 1937 | Russian | Social Realist