Tetyana Yablonska • Painting, 1949, 370×201 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Socialist realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1949
Size: 370×201 cm
Artwork in collection: Socialist realism Irina Olikh
Artwork in selections: 22 selections

Description of the artwork «Bread»

Having painted her Bread painting, Tetyana Yablonska could have no longer paint in the remaining 56 years of her life – and she would have still entered the Soviet art. You need to clearly realize this: the young artist in her thirties became a laureate of the State Stalin prize! It was her first work after a long break, as the artist's brilliant apprenticeship and promising career were interrupted for four years by the war, and then for another few years by the gradual return to civilian life and to painting.

For Yablonska and for the whole country, life has become the self-sufficient meaning and the absolute truth in those post-war years. And even a 4-metre Bread painting seemed not enough to shout out loud about this truth. So each detail in the painting was supposed to be driven to the limit.

"I remember one day I decided to dramatically increase a huge pile of grain on the canvas. I wanted that the bread, for which these people work, sounded in the painting with greater force and joy. On that day I decided on the name of the picture,  The Bread."

But the painting was not finished immediately: Tetyana Yablonska has done a lot of preliminary work: in search for exact poses and textures, almost 300 drawings preceded the final idea and composition. It all began with the bored students whom Yablonska, a teacher of the art Institute, sent for practice to the farm.

The students complained that it was very boring there, so they asked Tetyana to come and to take them to some better farm. Everyone worked there and no one wanted to pose. But the farm was very famous,  in 1947 they set a record and exceeded all possible plans. Then, after the war, those records were vitally important to feed people and give them the opportunity to come to life. And the farm after Lenin in the village of Letava was one of those, so Yablonska did not believe that one could be bored there. She went to see and inspire her students. In the end, she brought a stack of sketches and the idea of the composition that would swallow her attention for almost a year.

A wise, experienced, at the end of life silent and focused, Yablonska frankly admitted many of her works and entire periods in her work as unfortunate and erroneous, but for The Bread:
-When working on the Bread painting, I tried to convey the awe of life itself, to convey the truth of life. I remember a group of Lviv artists led by Grigoriychuk visited me. First, we had a conversation about the energetic nature of the main subject, that my spirit is very similar to hers, and then we began to talk about colors and hue gradations". I remember how ridiculous, naive and provincial it seemed to  me then! What do colors and hue gradations mean"? What else means, besides the true image of life? I didn't realize at that moment that the color scheme was a success — the combination of warm grains, blue skirts, white scarves and shirts created the beautiful ensemble.

Written by Anna Sidelnikova