A Great History of Revolutionary Struggle
Art Exchange VOL.04/2017|JIAO Yuping


Collections of Cultural Relics of October Revolution of Russian National History Museum Shown at National Museum of China 

Poster of Movie the October, by J.T. Rukelevsky 

For the Soviet government! (Triptych) Victor Borisovich Koretzky 

Mother-Motherland Calls (Poster) I.M.Toidze 

Handbag of Lenin 

Ahead ! The Victory is in sight N.N.Vatollina 

Chinese Landscape (wood carving) (In September 1920, a delegation led by ZHANG Silin of the Beiyang government arrived in Moscow. On November 2, Lenin met the Chinese delegation during his busy schedule. The delegation presented this piece of cork painting with Chinese characteristics to Lenin during the meeting.) 

A long brown travel handbag for documents and clothing was used by Lenin and his wife Mrs. Krupskaya for their 15-year exile in foreign countries, including Italy, France, Poland and other 12 countries in total. A dark brown double-breasted wool jacket was often worn by Lenin in 1910. People described him in the memoirs as modest, tidy, courteous, unadorned and inconspicuous in the crowds.

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of October Revolution--- Collections of Cultural Relics of October Revolution of Russian National History Museum, jointly issued by National Museum of China and Russian National History Museum, have been held at National Museum of China recently. Categorized into three parts as the Great Revolution, Commemoration of People, and Friendship between China and the Soviet Union, the exhibition displays classic oil paintings and sculptures showing the moments of revolution, picture posters recording people’s commemorating the revolution and defending the political power and 238 pieces of cultural relics reflecting the friendship history between China and the Soviet Union, including the masterpieces of 21 meritorious artists of Russian Soviet Union, with most exhibits shown to the public for the first time in China. Before the end of exhibition on February 7, 2018, people can visit the exhibition free of charge at the North 10 exhibition hall of the National Museum of China.

A Great Event in History 

In 1917, Russia was in a state of serious crisis as the First World War has worsened the domestic class contradiction. The loss at the frontline, the death and capture of millions of soldiers have caused the anger of the ordinary soldiers and some officers with disgrace, as they started to doubt about the effective management over the country by the Czar government in time of war or peace. During the first few months of 1917, amongst the factions against the monarchy were not only leaders of the liberal democratic movement, but also patriotic entrepreneurs, senior military leaders and even the royal members.

With the theme of the Great Revolution, the first part of the exhibition has shown the porthole of Aphrora Cruiser, flags of the October Revolution and some other precious cultural relics and over 20 pieces of classic historical paintings of the revolution, including Lenin’s Speech at Workers’ Assembly of Putilov Factory on May 1917 by Brodsky, Lenin’s Speech at the Second Congress of Russian Soviet by Serov, Lenin on the Rostrum by Gera Simov, Assault on Winter Palace by Sokolov-skalia and other classic historical paintings. In addition, some other photos and postcards recording the unique events from February to October, 1917 also revealed the intense pace of revolutionary events in two major Russian cities of Petrograd and Moscow.

The Aphrora Cruiser, according to the introduction, was one of the three famous Russian navy warships. On Novber 1917, the cruiser became a crucial revolutionary power with the endeavors of Bolshevik. At 10:00PM of 7, November, the Warship made the first shot to the Winter Palace. Ministers of interim government were arrested four hours later, marking the success of the October Revolution. The porthole at this exhibition was the best witness of that history.

Based upon Lenin’s speech in Petrograd, Matey Manizer created the statue of Lenin on Armored Car, depicting the welcoming scene of his return to Petrograd from Switzerland at the stations welcomed by workers and navy and army soldiers. Lenin boarded the armored turret and made a brief and passionate speech to the people who greeted him, hallooing Long live the socialist revolution. With complete modeling and concise artistic language, the masterpiece is of profound ideological content.

An earthshaking change in history 

Posters with rich content and diverse themes have emerged in streets, companies and institutions to celebrate this most important festival in the country after the success of the October Revolution. Commemoration of People has exhibited the posters and commemorative relics created from the October Revolution to the end of the 1980s, reflecting people’s commemoration of the revolution while reflecting the great events of the history of the Soviet Union, the society development and the situation of life. The posters include Why Aren't you in the Army? by Moor, Mother-mother land calls by Toidze, For the Soviet Regime by Koretsky, and the poster of the October, the first movie concerning the October Revolution under the design by Ruklevsky. Through maximum language expressiveness and extreme clarity, the artists employ visual images with great tension and simple structure to make posters the mass propaganda tools for the great events in the history of the Soviet Union.

Lenin once mentioned that first it should be especially sharp as the difference between pictures and posters is that everything in poster should be condensed and concentrated as only issues with much concentration and typical case can impress people strongly. After the October Revolution, Dimitri Moor has created the amazing and memorable pictures of propaganda showing great power of concentration famous for their inspiring image. His Have You Been in Volunteer Army created in 1920 reached the peak of the technique of propaganda painting in the Soviet Union and Russia at that time. A young Red Army soldier centering the painting pointed to the audiences with his right hand, watching them while giving out a serious issue with a powerful appeal: Have you been enlisted in the volunteer army? His persistent facial expression and eyes with anger and passion have effectively shown his determination of eliminating foreign armed interferers and domestic reactionary forces in defense of the young Soviet Republic.

As for the artwork of Moor, he practiced Lenin's instructions. The language of the propaganda painting is simple and extremely clear, the artist has given up minor issues while extracted those strengthening the image with special powers. For example, with a prominent image, the Red Army soldier almost occupied the whole painting with two striking colors of red and black. The factories and smokestacks behind the Red Army soldier symbolized the physical labor in the peaceful period, explaining that the new Soviet has been starting to recover the trauma of the war. Easy to read, the concise language was full of appeal.

A Sincere Commemoration of Friendship between China and Russia 

After the outbreak of the October Revolution, the Chinese revolutionary forerunner, Mr. Sun Yat-sen once sent a telegram to the Soviet Russian government and Lenin, proclaiming the two parties of China and Russia should remain united and fight together. Peking University professor Li Dazhao published articles, including Plebeian Victory, Bolshevik Victory and others to warmly eulogize the October Revolution and the Marxism. The October Revolution has initiated a series of fundamental changes in the economic, social and cultural fields of Soviet Russia, bringing the Marxism-Leninism to China, profoundly transforming the process of human history and put the proletarian revolutions globally into a brand-new era.

The part of Friendship between China and the Soviet Union shows the content of the friendly exchanges between China and Soviet Union, and China and Russia from the October Revolution to the end of the 20th century, including gifts sent by the Beiyang government delegation to Lenin, Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s mourning for the first anniversary of the death of Lenin, MAO Zedong’s 70-year birthday present to Stalin during his visit to the Soviet Union, things in Stalin’s villa, his marshal uniforms and personal supplies, the embossed plate in commemoration of the signing of the agreement on enhancing the military trust in border areas ameng China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and etc.

The Chinese revolutionary forerunner, Mr. Sun Yat-sen and the revolutionary leader of the Russian proletariat, Lenin were loyal friend to each other though they had never met in life, and they are regarded today as founders of the great revolutionary friendship between the Chinese and Russian people. Sun Yat-sen was deeply saddened by the death of Lenin on 21, January 1921 and made a speech calling on all people to learn Lenin’s revolutionary spirit. During the first anniversary of Lenin’s death, he wrote the mourning words on silks, commemorating and remembering the creator of the first socialist country in the world, that the genuine significance of the revolution lies in finding the liberation and freedom for most human beings, and Lenin has achieved his gool.

This exhibition is committed to showcasing to the audiences an earthshaking revolution, a fundamental historical change and a story of China-Russia friendship through extremely precious historical relics, real historical photographs and wonderful works of art, while deepening the mutual understanding of two peoples and strengthening the cultural exchanges between Chinese and Russian museums. Director of National Museum of China, LV Zhangshen said that today after the period of 100 years, when re-evaluating the value of the October Revolution in a broader space and time, we can deeply appreciate that: To win along the socialist road, the most important thing for the Chinese nation is to put XI Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the whole process of achieving the Two Centenary Goals and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation so as to make further contribution to the realization of the community of shared future for mankind.

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