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Defense Of Sevastopol

Painting, 1942, 200×400 cm

Description of the artwork «Defense Of Sevastopol»

The creation of the painting "Defense Of Sevastopol" Deineka has pushed the news that the Germans broke through the defense. In TASS, he had the opportunity to see printed in the German newspaper the bombed-out city. Deineka was very fond of the Crimea in General and Sevastopol in particular, and it became for him a cruel blow. The artist later recalled: "This period of my life fell out of my mind, he was absorbed in the single desire to paint a picture".

In the painting, Deineka surprisingly managed to combine the monumental, almost the poster-image with deep psychological meaning and symbolism: it seems that the defenders of the city in improbable white form fight not only with enemy troops, but with grey the forces of evil.
Alexander Dejneka traveled to an area of operations near Yukhnov, and they do a lot of pencil sketches that were used in "the Defense of Sevastopol". Thinking through composition, it immediately saw the Central image of a sailor with a bunch of grenades. Deineka without piety belonged to the kind, nature often did sketches, and thoroughly worked in the Studio, trusting more to their imagination, memory and sketches. But in this case it was important for him to prescribe Central figure in the most authentic way. In time of war, it proved difficult to find a man of athletic build, who would agree to pose. And the wounded of the Central fighter Deineka wrote with his friend, champion in rowing.

The time of the painting's creation in 1942, the victory speech did not go, Sevastopol was given. Therefore, the "defense of Sevastopol" does not reflect historical reality, its task is to strengthen the spirit and, perhaps, to predict that in the end all the same "will not work".

Bright, happy seaside town on the picture is bloody flaming glow. On the faces of the Soviet sailors – the unwavering determination to defend the city, giving their lives if necessary. The figure of a soldier with a naked torso in the left part of the canvas is also located half-turned, echoing the Central figure of a sailor. In the middle ground of Soviet sailor in white and German soldiers in gray-green met in a melee. To the right of the canvas like cropped (Deineka at all fond of this technique), we do not see the rear of the attackers, but seeing their bayonets, thus there is an effect of depersonalization, reinforcing the feeling that the men running against specific invaders, and the evil world.

The fallen in this picture is shown only by German soldiers. Deineka did not fall to the caricatured image of the enemy than sin and some of his colleagues on a brush, wrote on the military theme. Death for him is never a reason to kick the foot lifeless body. The dead German in the foreground without any acrimony. Indicative in this sense, the pattern "Shot down as"that was even acknowledged as "ideologically inappropriate". Support your people Deineka expressed otherwise – heroic pathos of the canvas, the image of a victorious battle, although in reality the victories in that time can not speak.

"The defense of Sevastopol" Alexander Deineka showed in the autumn of 1942 the exhibition "the Great Patriotic war". Criticism was not without accusations of sketchiness and poster, but to deny that the artist managed to embody the image not a specific battle, confrontation itself, create a symbolic image of the entire Second world war – the one which saw defending their country people could not. "I don't know a good picture or bad, but it seems that real"so he Deineka evaluate their work.

Author: Alain Grosheva
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Battle scene, Historical scene

Style of art: Socialist realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1942

Size: 200×400 cm

Artwork in selections: 20 selections

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