Morning wake up art: Soviet War Paintings

This link has been making the rounds and it’s Not Comics, but it’s so worth a look: Soviet War Paintings. To the horrors of war, you can add cold, bleak, brutal images rendered in rigid, propagandistic art styles.



  1. jim b. says:

    great stuff, haunting, poignant. my wife appreciated them also. the best reminded us of Sargent’s Gassed.

    thanks Heidi.

  2. Rafael K says:

    There’s also the sketchbook of Hans Liska in the same website.

  3. AMAZING, powerful images. Looking at these paintings made me think about how especially traumatic the World Wars were on the Soviet people in a way I’d never thought about before. I can only imagine how emotionally powerful seeing these paintings in person would be. Thanks for sharing this, Heidi.

  4. B. Nemenskiy. The last letter.

    G. Melichov. Victory day in Berlin.

    Approximately 23 Million casualties of the Soviet Union.
    Germany: 6.5 – 8.5 Million
    Some were self-inflicted, either via genocide or by general orders.

    U. S.: 400,000

    My “favorite” propoganda poster:
    (The gold star signifying a soldier’s death in the family.)

  5. Ben Templesmith says:

    Those are quite amazing.

    And wish I was a better artist.

  6. The Beat says:

    A few years ago the Gugenheim had a

    display of Russian painting, from religious icons to Constructivists, that was pretty mind blowing. The exhibit included Aivazovsky’s Ninth Wave

    the Russian equivalent of The Raft of the Medusa. Although Russian Art isn’t that generally known here — prolly because it’s been locked up in war town museums for a few centuries — any time you dip into it, it’s mind boggling. One of my dreams is to go to the Hermitage some day!

  7. These paintings really informed the podcasts I heard over at Hardcore History about the fighting on the eastern front.

  8. pulphope says:

    That show at the Gugenheim was memorable. Heroic Reaslism was the official art style approved by Stalin because art was supposed to glorify the Russian people and instruct proper moral behavior– our term “political correctness” comes from the Stalinists. Painting or sculpting in an “abstract” style was illegal and could land you in the Gulag.

    Here’s good stuff too, probably known to a few out there already–illegal comics from the Russian Comics Underground (actually some pretty amazing comics too):

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