Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Communists at the Palette and Chisel

After 6 months
of hard labor
Misha Livshulz
(who was never a Communist,
but is liberal and progressive socially)
is finally ready
to move the above painting
into the gallery
that he built for it
atop his home in Skokie.

The artist was his father,
Chaim Livchitz ,
and Misha, himself, posed for the figure
of the young man in the lower left hand corner.

Other characters depicted
include, of course, Vladimir Lenin
and Felix Dzerzhinsky
two of the most notorious
mass murderers of the 20th Century.

But it's a good painting, anyway,
isn't it ?

First version, now in the Belarus State Art Museum
oil on linen

The event being depicted
is the meeting of the first Soviet Congress
in St. Petersburg
in June, 1917,
4 months before the Bolsheviks
would stage the October Revolution
that threw Russia into civil war,
and eventually give birth
to the U.S.S.R.
whose entire 70 year reign of terror
fits entirely within the 115 years
of the Palette and Chisel.

Is it possible
to beat swords into paint brushes?


Blogger FTM said...

Dear Christopher McCarthy,
I would like to speak in defense of the USSR, which was a nation filled with good people who wanted nothing more than a decent future for their children. This future was ultimately stifled by Wall Street, by the ever-present sword of nuclear annihilation held over the planet by the Wall Street's puppet government: The USA.
One thing that you may not be aware of, is how this painting is read at the time. Made in the late 1970's, the subject of Lenin was already out of fashion in the Soviet Union. From an American perspective, it is more like a Norman Rockwell painting of a milk-man and firehouse dog--a nostalgia for a simpler time, which may have never existed a priori.

March 27, 2010  
Blogger chris miller said...

Actually - my primary purpose here was to present that fine painting by Livchitz Sr.

My secondary purpose was to nostalgically revisit the P&C's tradition of social activism (it's been dormant for about 80 years)

But now I see that it can also serve to flush out the last remaining Bolsheviks in North America ... so I have fowarded the above comment to the H.U.A.C..

(it still exists, doesn't it ?. I haven't been reading the newspapers lately)

March 28, 2010  

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