kind. He, for example, even forbadenthe printing of photographs thatnshowed him in Bavarian lederhosen ornwearing eyeglasses or with a small dog,nbecause he considered that such photographsnwould detract from the grandeurnof image that the leader of thengreatest nation must project.nIf what Hitler thought of himself isnwell-known, Stalin’s perception ofnhimself is shrouded in mystery. Henrose from the hidden depths of thenparty apparatus, having squeezed outnand destroyed much more popularnleaders. Until the mid-20’s his imagenas Lenin’s comrade-in-arms, creator ofnthe army and state, or simply as anhuman being was much less welldefinednin the popular imaginationnthan, say, Trotsky’s, Bukharin’s, ornZinoviev’s. Thus, Soviet art was callednupon to fill in the yawning gaps in hisnpolitical career: an enormous numbernof genre depictions of Stalin were creatednto “document” various traits of hisnpersonality (the real ones least of all)nand important episodes of his life (thenones that never occurred). On countlessncanvases he was portrayed in nearlynevery key position of the Civil War,nand whenever the image of Leninnappeared as inspirer of the revolution,nright next to it appeared the figure ofnits practical organizer—Stalin. GivennSoviet art’s main emphasis on thenreflection of “life’s truth,” such portrayalsnautomatically took on the significancenof historical; B. Karpov, artist; oil J 948n44 I CHRONICLESnE-:”-^-“=^rnfijif.:nl^ .”., ‘.•>–is’-. ••€.*’• J-iSf L ^ •>n’UtlnnForward, Toward the Victory of Communism!; L. Golovanov, artist; poster, 1952nBoth Socialist Realism and NationalnSocialist theories of art state that thentrue image of the leader is not limitednby the traits of his individual personality.nAs Iskusstvo put it, “He is intertwinednwith historical reality, in thenmulti-faceted situations of our revolutionarynpast and our glorious present,nin his contact with people and thenmasses.” That is, the depiction of almostnany historical event or life situationnis to be, in one way or another,nlinked to the image of the leader. Allnart becomes one gigantic pedestal fornhis overwhelming figure.nPaintings and monuments idealizingnthe leader constitute the center ofntotalitarian art. With a change of leadersna vacuum is formed in this centernwhich threatens to destroy the wholenunless it is filled immediately with thencult of a new leader.nAfter Khrushchev’s speech condemningnthe “cult of personality,” Stalin’snmonuments were blown up, hisnportraits .removed from offices and museums,nand his figure scraped off fromnthe most famous group compositionsnand replaced by someone else. In V.nSerov’s monumental painting LeninnProclaims the Soviet Governmentn(1947), Stalin once stood right next tonan iconic figure of Lenin; but now,nsome absolutely unknown characternoccupies this spot. (The depictions ofnmany of Stalin’s own comrades-inarmsnsuffered exactly the same fatenduring Stalin’s reign. At the height ofnnnthe terror of the 30’s, Stalinist laureatesnscraped from their group compositionsnthe images of Tukhachevsky,nYakir, Bukharin, Yezhov.)nThe same artists, the pillars of SocialistnRealism—Nalbandian, Yefanov,nTomsky, Vuchetich—who oncenpainted and sculpted Stalin, soonnbegan sculpting and painting Khrushchev,nand, after his fall, Brezhnev.nThe Brezhnev era ended with Nalbandian’snhuge canvas, Novorossiisk.nNo Man’s Land. During World War IInColonel Brezhnev served as staff officernin the area of Novorossiisk,. anninsignificant Southern town, now presentednas a key battie area that nearlyndecided the outcome of the entirenSecond World War.nThe cults of Andropov and Chernenkonnever got started due to thenshortness of their reigns. But unlessnthe situation in the Soviet Unionnchanges radically (which is very unlikely),nwe will see once again brilliantnartistic depictions of Gorbachev at podiums,nat congresses, among peasantsnand writers and — who knows? —nmaybe even at the fronts of the SecondnWorld War.nInga Karetnikova, author of severalnbooks on art in Russian, is currentlyna writer for the BBC in London. IgornGolomstock, formerly curator of thenPushkin Museum of Fine Arts innMoscow, is likewise a writer for thenBBC.n