Stalin approving a USSR model of the pavilion for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937

Stalin stares into the distance, as if caught in the reverie of his own activities and cultural urbanity. Bubnov is keen to emphasise that Stalin is concerned with culture as a means of aggrandising the Soviet Nation. This imposing work functions as clever propaganda of the man in uniform deciding upon the military and cultural rhythms of life.

On the table, behind Stalin, one can see the design for the pavilion of the Soviet Union at the 1937 World Fair in Paris, surmounted by the famous sculpture by Vera Mukhina Worker and Kolkhoz woman. The architect of the Soviet pavilion was Boris Mihailovich Iofan (1891–1976) and it was placed opposite that of Nazi Germany, creating a visual and political confrontation of world powers at the Trocadero on the North bank of the Seine.


Oil on canvas


172cm × 124cm

Alexsandr Bubnov
1908 - 1964

Bubnov was an important Soviet artist and participated in the 1946 All Union Fine Art Exhibition at the Tretyakov.

This life size portrait of the leader of the Soviet Union during World War II showcases the manner in which art has often been used as a tool of propaganda. Bubnov's composition consciously recalls the tradition of Grand Tour portraits as exemplified by Pompeo Batoni.