Mother and child

This beautiful vision of a mother and child is bathed in a bright light. The mother shades her eyes from the sun whilst her child reaches for the fruit on the tr ee. The mother's basket of fruit has fallen over and she may have been working on one of the collective farms. There is a simplicity to the composition which gives the work a timeless quality. Plastov has painted with bold colours and brushstrokes indicating his true status as a master of Socialist Realism.



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.