The Filatov Familiy Art Fund has purchased Vladimir Serov’s painting depicting the historic moment when Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist Vladimir Ilyich Lenin proclaimed Soviet Power, a work that more than any other captured the birth of the soviet era.

The painting, 'Lenin Proclaims Soviet Power', depicts Lenin declaring the first decrees of Soviet Power from the tribune of the Second Congress of Soviets at the Smolny Palace in Leningrad in 1917. Serov received the Stalin Prize for the painting of which there are three versions. The first canvas, painted in 1947, depicts Stalin, Dzerzhinsky and Sverdlov on the tribune standing just behind Lenin. This version was given as a gift to the Chinese Communist Leader Mao Tse-tung, but has since disappeared. Following Stalin’s death and the collapse of the personality cult, Serov painted two additional versions of the famous scene depicting Lenin, but replacing Stalin and the others Communist Leaders with workers.

The canvas in the Filatov Art Fund's possession was painted in 1955 and was purchased from a private family collection in the Netherlands, who in turn bought it from the museum of the city of Zhukovsky in the 1990s. The third painting was done in 1962 and can be viewed in the Tretyakov picture galleries.

Andrei Filatov, founder and financier of the Fund, said: “This is without doubt the most iconic painting symbolizing the beginning of Soviet power and captures the importance of a historic moment that was to shape the lives of millions of people in Russia and beyond. Created by an artist decorated with numerous state awards and medals, the painting is a canonical representation of the official socialist realism style, which is still barely recognized outside of Russia.”

Serov - Lenin Proclaims Soviet Power

'Lenin Proclaims Soviet Power' 1955. Oil on canvas.

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Vladimir Aleksandrovich Serov (1910 – 1968) was an award-winning Soviet artist and art teacher. In 1931, he graduated from the All-Russia Academy of Arts. In 1932-1933 he studied at the graduate school of the Institute of Fine Art, Sculpture, and Architecture in Leningrad under Isaac Brodsky. From 1933 to 1943 he taught in the Leningrad Academy of Arts. During World War II, he drew propaganda art at the Boevoy Karandash ('The Battle Crayon') art group. Most of Serov’s artworks are strongly grounded in the official ideology, portraying historic events in the strict dogmatism of the socialistic realism style. He received his first Stalin Prize in 1948 for the 'Lenin Proclaims Soviet Power' and went on to collect another Stalin Prize in 1950 along with two Lenin Orders and many other medals. In addition to his artistic achievements, Serov had an impressive career in the Communist Party, serving as the President of the USSR Academy of Arts, the First Secretary of the Union of the Artists, and a member of the Auditing Commission of the Communist Party. Besides his socialist realism art, he is known for his illustration of Russian literature, particularly Leo Tolstoy’s 'War and Peace'.