Joseph Stalin's Cult Of Personality

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Joseph Stalin is perhaps one of the most important and discussed people in Russian history. He was arguably a feared tyrant cursed and despised by many. At the same time, one finds sufficient evidence for the adoration and worship of Stalin that used to exist in the minds of the citizens of the Soviet Union. One reason for this worship was the existence of the so called ‘Cult of Personality’ where Stalin was celebrated as a wise leader, father of all people, and the architect of victory of the Second World War. In his book, The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power, Jan Plamper states that Stalin’s cult of personality was largely a visual phenomenon. This statement formed the basis of this essay, which seeks to explore “To
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Many works have been written on Stalin’s cult of personality, but none of them seemed to focus on the role of paintings specifically. This topic is thus worthy of investigation as it might shed a new light on Stalin’s cult of personality in terms of the visual arts. It is also worthy of investigation in general because his cult of personality was not an isolated phenomenon, but rather a phenomenon that has existed around many of the world leaders, and continues to exist around some today. Therefore, it is interesting to investigate the relative importance and influence of the visual arts, especially painting, in one of such cults as it may allow for the extrapolation of the conclusion to many others. Following the recommendation of Anita Pisch, Stalin’s image will be divided into three main parts that Pisch in her book The Personality Cult of Stalin in Soviet Posters refers to as archetypes. The archetypes analysed in this essay will be Stalin as ‘the wise leader’, as ‘the father of all people’, and as ‘the generalissimo’. To answer the research question, several academic works including those of Jan Plamper and Anita Pisch will be investigated, and paintings by the prominent Socialist Realism artists Deineka, Laktionov, Gerasimov and Vladimirskiy will…show more content…
Therefore, despite the horrors of Stalin’s regime, one could argue that the socialist realism paintings could ‘mould the consciousness of the people’ into believing that Stalin was a great and wise leader, a kind and humble man, and the father of all Soviet people, thus reinforcing his cult of personality that tries to portray him in that light. However, while art might have the power to do this, one must not forget about other visual representations of life such as photographs and posters. Their relative power and influence will be discussed later in the

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