It was a famous image in the USSR, reproduced in millions of school textbooks. The original was painted by Piotr Petrovich Belousov, and this example is a later, hand-painted copy which was produced by an anonymous state artist to be used as propaganda in some public setting. It was probably created in the 1950s, but it could be even earlier--it appears to be quite old. The painting captures the moment in 1887 when the 16 or 17 year-old future Lenin (his revolutionary nom de guerre) was comforting his mother after she received the bad news that her older son, Alexander, had been hanged after conspiring to assassinate the Tsar.I guess this sort of behavior kind of ran in the family. Anyway, the story goes that this event galvanized the traumatized teen, and set him off on his single-minded revolutionary path.
When I look at the picture, I imagine he might just as likely be saying, Mom, either that hideous wallpaper goes, or I do! Or maybe that the real reason his mother is crying is because he just broke the news to her that he wanted to be a lawyer when he grew up. He actually achieved that goal in the 1890s.
Luckily, he then chose the lesser of two evils, and decided to become a ruthless dictator instead. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this painting is the revelation that Lenin actually sported a full head of wavy hair at one time!
What I like about it is that despite being a piece of Communist propaganda, it also works as a nice Victorian genre painting, since it takes place in the 1880s and displays no obvious political content. It's really very charming, dramatic, and decorative.And quite large--34"x47¾" sight size. I could find no signature, or any other identifying marks. Condition is pretty good, although there are allover scuffs, superficial scratches, and scattered small paint losses, mostly on the clothing and in the background.. The bottom is kind of dusty and the whole canvas would probably benefit from a light cleaning. On the reverse you can see five small old Soviet-era patches. There are no unrepaired holes or tears. On the back of the canvas you can also see a faint old damp stain along the left edge, but it didn't affect the paint layer.
Since these paintings were essentially utilitarian objects which were displayed in busy public settings, their condition is rarely perfect--they were used and sometimes abused! I would just enjoy it as-is, with its fine old historic Soviet patina intact. The great news is, both faces are in good shape, fresh and bright with little damage. The extreme closeup makes it look as if young Vlad is having a major acne breakout, but that's just the texture of the rather coarse canvas showing through. Good thing, because it was Prom night!This wonderful painting and many others I'll be offering here in the weeks and months to come were collected by my late brother in the former Soviet Union about 20 years ago. See the last picture for more info; the sign it shows came from an exhibition of his collection at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY in 2008-'09. It was a major production, and he was very honored and proud. Interest in all things Soviet has really been picking up lately; prices are escalating and good examples like this are being snatched up by savvy collectors and wise investors alike. Thanks for looking, and remember: be nice to your Mom and don't kill any Tsars, and you can't go wrong! The item "VICTORIAN GENRE PAINTING Oil RUSSIAN COMMUNIST Soviet Propaganda LENIN & MOTHER" is in sale since Thursday, September 22, 2016. This item is in the category "Art\Paintings". The seller is "sheetcreek" and is located in Scottsville, New York. This item can be shipped to United States.