On the Farm - Pay Day

Although celebrated as a shining example of Socialist Realism, the Plastov denounced the contrived narrative compositions characteristic. His paintings have a subtle rhythm and in the present work, there is circular momentum which goes from the cart in the background, through to the hay bale in the upper right hand corner, and which ends with the family of peasants in the foreground. On the basis of a comparison with the Supper of Tractor Drivers in the Tretyakov Gallery, the boy eating grapes in the present work might be Viktor Zemchikhin and the girl, Valentina Bobleva.


Plastov family Collection;
Private Collection USA since circa 2005


Vern G. Swanson, Soviet Impressionist Painting, 2007, p.299


Oil on canvas


165cm x 198cm

Arkady Plastov
1893 - 1972

Plastov was born in Prislonika and was one of the most important Russian Socialist Realist painters. He was twice awarded the Order of Lenin Prize as well as the Stalin Prize. He had a very naturalistic style and often painted from nature.

From 1912-1914 Plastov studied at the Stroganov College in Moscow. Plastov spent the majority of his time in his native village of Prislonikha, where he lived and worked and almost all his creative work is associated with this village. The models for the main characters in Plastov's paintings were always the inhabitants of Prislonikha and he intended his work to be a statement of the renewal of life, with its humble beauty and truth.

Plastov remained true to the peasant theme where "humanity was shown with all its intoxication in extreme tension and truth". He painted, in particular in the 1940s, with broad strokes and saturated colours which are reminiscent of the Impressionists.

The artist denounced the contrived narrative compositions characteristic in Soviet Realist paintings of the 1930-1950s. Conversely, Soviet art critics decried Plastov's work as an "eventless" genre. Fundamentally, however, Plastov intended his work to stand as a statement of the renewal of life, with its all its humble beauty and truth.