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1905. The Road To October

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (published)

  • Date:

    1929 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kulagina, Valentina, born 1902 - died 1987 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Half-tone letterpress and colour lithograph

  • Museum number:

    E.1274-1989

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB3H, shelf DR4

Valentina Kulagina often used photomontage in her work. This 1929 work, commemorates the events of Bloody Sunday, January 1905, when over a thousand peaceful demonstrators were massacred as they marched on the Russian tsar’s Winter Palace in St Petersburg. This was part of a wider revolt that led the tsar, Nicholas II, to publish the October Manifesto at the end of the year, promising a constitution and the establishment of an elected legislature.

In Kulagina’s design, tsarist brutality is contained by the powerful marching steps of the monumental workers. The head of Nicholas II is framed within the toppled crown. Both devices intimate the October Revolution of 1917, which saw the Bolshevik Party seize power following the overthrow of the monarchy.

Physical description

portrait format poster printed in red and black. In centre forground a 'constructivist' style figure in red, striding across picture plane. Behind him in steep perspectival recession and exactly repeating his stance, four further figures. Behind/below them, a photo-montage of the streets in St Petersburg at the time of the 1905 October Revolution, and rising in a line from the bottom of the image three much smaller 'constructivist' figures firing guns from a battlement, toward, in the lower right corner of the image, a white outline of a toppled crown, behind which a photographic image of Tzar Nicholas II. The date 1905 appears like a banner in the upper left corner of the image.

Place of Origin

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (published)

Date

1929 (published)

Artist/maker

Kulagina, Valentina, born 1902 - died 1987 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Half-tone letterpress and colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Details of production
Distributor's identification; Russian; bottom margin; half- tone letterpress

Dimensions

Height: 1025 mm sheet, Width: 794 mm sheet

Descriptive line

'1905. The Road to Red October', Valentina Kulagina; Russia, 1929

Labels and date

This Russian poster commemorates Bloody Sunday in January 1905, when over a thousand peaceful demonstrators were massacred as they marched on the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. In Kulagina’s design, the unstoppable marching steps of the monumental workers contain images of tsarist brutality. A toppled crown frames the head of Tsar Nicholas II, symbolising his removal during the Russian Revolution.

A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution, V&A, Galleries 88a and 90, (1 May-2 Nov 2014) [01/05/2014-02/11/2014]

Production Note

All lettering is in Russian, the title given above is a translation.

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Half-tone letterpress; Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Revolution

Categories

Propaganda; Royalty

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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