Archive for the ‘Playground of the Autocrats’ Category

Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Click on image for enlargement.

Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin) . 68″ x 32″ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Click on image below to see enlargment.  These are actual items that the Soviet elite secretly enjoyed behind closed doors and hidden within special guarded, walled housing areas.

DETAIL of Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin

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Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Details are followed by an image of the entire Panel 4.

Panel 4 onion dome of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin) . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

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DETAIL: Left side of “The Noble Clans,” Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin.

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Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin . 67″ x 32″ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Click on image above for enlargement.

Panel 5 is here.

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Panel 3 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

These are details of Panel 3 of Darling Godsonny Stalin, which is narrated in song by “fairy godfather” Ivan the Terrible.  Ivan gives his infant “godson” Stalin the blessings of Russia’s past and “advice” on how to follow the example of Ivan’s own 16th century terror against individual members of powerful clans, portrayed in the central onion-dome of the artwork.  (For more about Ivan’s terror, click here.)

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The left side of the triptych’s large onion-dome portrays Ivan’s Oprichniki (his private army) throwing Novgorod clan members off a bridge, then pushing anyone who surfaced back down under the ice.

Historians today all agree that Ivan the Terrible killed thousands of his own people during his terror.  But – due to the skimpy historical record – historians continue to debate exactly how horrific Ivan’s methods were.

The right side of the artwork’s central onion dome portrays the members of powerful clans whose land was expropriated, and who were exiled to live on estates in Ivan’s newly conquered territories around Kazan.  For more on these exiles, click here.

Stalin’s 20th century purges, remarkably similar in many ways to those of Ivan in the 16th century, peaked in 1937-8.  Stalin executed virtually all of the Bolshevik leaders who had led the revolution (Lenin had died of repeated strokes in the early 1920s).

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Trotsky’s assassination.

 

Trotsky – who Stalin viewed as his most threatening rival – was expelled from the USSR.  Trotsky’s sons had both been killed at Stalin’s behest, and Trotsky knew the noose was tightening around him as well.  He was living in Mexico when he was assassinated, by means of a mountaineer’s ice pick,  in 1940.

Other Bolsheviks – whether careerists or dedicated, hardworking idealists – were arrested and transported on trains to slave labor camps in Siberia and other locations across the Soviet Union. Some died of starvation, thirst, or illness while being transported thousands of miles.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoner transport to GULAG slave labor camps.

Some prisoners were executed and buried in mass graves.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Execution and mass graves.

Political prisoners were put to work building large-scale infrastructure projects: canals, mines, and cities in the far north (such as Norilsk).  Soviet Russia was overwhelmingly non-industrialized, so much of this labor was done by human power with non-mechanized equipment like picks and wheelbarrows.  Inadequately fed and clothed, this was a devastating experience for many who had once been leaders of the new young country.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: political prisoners excavating a canal and removing the soil with wheelbarrows.

 

The push for rapid industrialization required construction material.  The heavily-forested far north provided an unending source of lumber.  The cold, tens of degrees below zero, was unbearable for prisoners whose ragged clothing couldn’t protect them.

Roads had to be built, and lumber was plentiful, so they were used.

 

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: building a log road in the far north.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoners in Magadan, in the far northeast, mined gold and diamonds using wheelbarrows.

 

The rich gold and diamond fields of the USSR’s far northeast were mined by political prisoners using wheelbarrows and picks.

 

 

Prisoners were housed in freezing barracks.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: interior of political prisoners’ barracks.

 

 

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PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS Gallery

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Please scroll down for images from 4 polyptychs in my series PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS.  Click on any image for more information and closeup details.

Studio shot

Studio shot: completing pentaptych Darling Godsonny Stalin

 

Darling Godsonny Stalin  Mooney Gallery

DARLING GODSONNY STALIN (IVAN THE TERRIBLE ADVISES THE INFANT STALIN) . 3 panel iteration exhibited in “Russia Through the Looking Glass” . By Anne Bobroff-Hajal . 9′ x 6′ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Panel #2 of what will eventually be a 14-foot wide, 5-panel piece, DARLING GODSONNY STALIN (IVAN THE TERRIBLE ADVISES THE INFANT STALIN) . By Anne Bobroff-Hajal .  Panel 2 is 64″ x 32″.  For close-up details, please click on the image, then scroll down.

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DETAIL of Panel 2, DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

 

Detail of Panel 2 of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

Home Security At Any Crazy Price

“Home Security At Any Crazy Price,” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . 36″ x 40″ . Acrylic and digital images on canvas and board . 2009

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Detail, Panel 1 of Darling Godsonny Stalin

Detail 1, Panel #1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

Detail 2, Panel 1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail 4, Panel #1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Panel 1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

More enlarged details are here:

Panel 3

Panel 4

Panel 5

Catherine the Great Character Design

Character Design for Catherine the Great, who will appear in several polyptychs. Her personal triptych is “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Stalin in Sheep's Clothing

Stalin character design as he appears in Panel 1 of “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Gallery Talk Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes

Artist talk: “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . Acrylic paint and digital images in layers on canvas and board.

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Detail: Center Panel “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail 1 Center Panel

Detail 1 Center Panel “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail: Panel 1 of “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail of Russian peasants in Left panel of “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes”

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Detail Panel 3 “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes”

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Detail lower left panel of Home Security at Any Crazy Price, by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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“The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas . 24″ x 48″

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Detail of middle panel “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Enlarged detail of center panel: “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail middle panel “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Detail middle panel of “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth,” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

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Character Design for Peter the Great, by Anne Bobroff-Hajal. Peter appears in several PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS polyptychs.

Almost finished multi-year project

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Final studio touchups

Details of various parts of the work are here.

 

DARLING GODSONNY STALIN in Crown St. Window Project at ArtSpace

Friday, February 27th, 2015

I’m delighted that Darling Godsonny Stalin is being displayed in the Crown St. Window at ArtSpace, New Haven, CT, until May 2, 2015.  This complex triptych – on its way to becoming a 5-paneled piece – has been almost continuously exhibited since I completed it in October, 2014: first in my solo show, Russia Through the Looking Glass: Terror, Humanity, and Geopolitics Through History (Castle/Mooney Gallery, College of New Rochelle) – then in the Katonah Museum of Art’s “Line Describing a Cone,” and now in New Haven.

ArtSpace gallery’s fascinating Vertical Reach: Political Protest and the Militant Aesthetic Now! “looks at the current political climate in Eastern Europe to explore how acts of protest and assembly operate when framed as artistic practice. The show brings together socially engaged works by collectives and individuals from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and the USA to look at how freedom of speech manifests now.”

Darling Godsonny Window in ArtSpace Crown St. Window during the run of Vertical Reach

ArtSpace New Haven Crown St. Window

 

RUSSIA THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS opens at the Mooney Center Gallery

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Russia Through the Looking Glass: Terror, Humanity, and Geo-Politics through History opened Oct. 26, 2014.  DARLING GODSONNY STALIN, a complex mixed media piece 9′ x 6,’ went on display for the first time.

The exhibit was extended at the Mooney Center Gallery through Nov. 25, 2014.

For closeups of each piece below, please click on its image (for some, scroll down to see larger details).

DARLING GODSONNY STALIN . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board . 2014

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Viewers were very engaged in the art!

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Viewers read wall text for DRESS IT UP IN RESPLENDENT CLOTHES Oct. 26, 2014

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Mooney Gallery Oct. 26, 2014
Visitors to opening of RUSSIA THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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Viewing HOME SECURITY AT ANY CRAZY PRICE.

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Visitors discuss Ivan IV, the “Terrible.”

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Viewers read explanatory wall text for THE MOST EXPOSED TERRAIN ON EARTH.

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Viewers get up close and personal with Ivan the Terrible.

For more about Ivan the Terrible, click here.

 

DARLING GODSONNY STALIN is now a triptych ….

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Darling Godsonny Stalin is now a triptych (on its way to becoming a 5-paneled piece).  Details of the two side panels of this large, detailed artwork are here.  Closeups of the center panel are below, on this page.

Visitors to opening reception for “Russia Through the Looking Glass: Terror, Humanity, and Geo-Politics Through History” view DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

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DARLING GODSONNY STALIN . Currently 9′ x 6” .  Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board .

Darling Godsonny Stalin is narrated in song by “fairy godfather” Ivan the Terrible.  Ivan gives his infant “godson” Stalin the blessings of Russia’s past and “advice” on how to handle his 20th century future.

Ivan instructs Stalin to follow the example of Ivan’s own 16th century terror against individual members of powerful clans, portrayed in the central onion-dome of the artwork.  (For more about Ivan’s terror, click here.)

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: entire central panel . 42″ x 75″

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DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Ivan sings his “advice” to his infant “godson” Stalin.

The left side of the triptych’s large onion-dome portrays Ivan’s Oprichniki (his private army) throwing Novgorod clan members off a bridge, then pushing anyone who surfaced back down under the ice.

Detail of middle onion-dome of Darling Godsonny Stalin – scene of Novgorod massacre described in historical sources.

Historians today all agree that Ivan the Terrible killed thousands of his own people during his terror.  But – due to the skimpy historical record – historians continue to debate exactly how horrific Ivan’s methods were.

The right side of the artwork’s central onion dome portrays the members of powerful clans whose land was expropriated, and who were exiled to live on estates in Ivan’s newly conquered territories around Kazan.  For more on these exiles, click here.

Right side of onion-dome, middle panel of Darling Godsonny Stalin

Stalin’s 20th century purges, remarkably similar in many ways to those of Ivan in the 16th century, peaked in 1937-8.  Stalin executed virtually all of the Bolshevik leaders who had led the revolution (Lenin had died of repeated strokes in the early 1920s).

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Most top Bolshevik leaders were executed.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Trotsky’s assassination.

 

Trotsky – who Stalin viewed as his most threatening rival – was expelled from the USSR.  Trotsky’s sons had both been killed at Stalin’s behest, and Trotsky knew the noose was tightening around him as well.  He was living in Mexico when he was assassinated, by means of a mountaineer’s ice pick,  in 1940.

Other Bolsheviks – whether careerists or dedicated, hardworking idealists – were arrested and transported on trains to slave labor camps in Siberia and other locations across the Soviet Union. Some died of starvation, thirst, or illness while being transported thousands of miles.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoner transport to GULAG slave labor camps.

Some prisoners were executed and buried in mass graves.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Execution and mass graves.

Political prisoners were put to work building large-scale infrastructure projects: canals, mines, and cities in the far north (such as Norilsk).  Soviet Russia was overwhelmingly non-industrialized, so much of this labor was done by human power with non-mechanized equipment like picks and wheelbarrows.  Inadequately fed and clothed, this was a devastating experience for many who had once been leaders of the new young country.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: political prisoners excavating a canal and removing the soil with wheelbarrows.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: prisoners lumbering in Soviet Russia’s far north.

 

The push for rapid industrialization required construction material.  The heavily-forested far north provided an unending source of lumber.  The cold, tens of degrees below zero, was unbearable for prisoners whose ragged clothing couldn’t protect them.

Roads had to be built, and lumber was plentiful, so they were used.

 

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: building a log road in the far north.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoners in Magadan, in the far northeast, mined gold and diamonds using wheelbarrows.

 

 

 

The rich gold and diamond fields of the USSR’s far northeast were mined by political prisoners using wheelbarrows and picks.

 

 

Prisoners were housed in freezing barracks.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: interior of political prisoners’ barracks.

 

 

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PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS Gallery Addition

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I’ve just completed Panel 2 of Darling Godsonny Stalin – which will eventually be a very large 5-panel piece, 14 feet wide.  Images, including close-up details of parts of the panel, are below.  For close-up details of Panel 1, please scroll down to previous post or click here.

Check back soon for more information on the content and meaning of Panel 2 (The Bolshevik Clans).  Meantime, you can read about Panel 1 (Ivan the Terrible’s Noble Clans) here and about other polyptychs in my PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS series here.

DETAIL Panel 2 DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

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DETAIL Panel 2 Darling Godsonny Stalin – Far Left Side

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DETAIL of Bolshevik Clans, DARLING GODSONNY STALIN Panel 2.

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DETAIL – Panel 2 Darling Godsonny Stalin – Peasants

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DETAIL Shaped wood top of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN, Panel 2.  Map portrays Russia’s Civil War in the years following the 1917 Revolution, including White Armies and invasion routes.

 

Please continue with the following post to see the complete PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS gallery.

Delightful praise from Russian historian Chester Dunning

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

After sending images of my latest Playground of the Autocrats panel, I was delighted to receive the following email (quoted with permission) from Chester Dunning, author of the wonderful Russia’s first Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty:

Wow! Thank you for sending me images of your amazing artwork.  I have been teaching Russian history for over thirty years, and your art really captures the sad, crazy quilt of Russian history and culture.  Congratulations on getting it exactly (insanely) right!

Best wishes,
Chester Dunning
Professor of History and
Murray and Celeste Fasken Chair in Distinguished Teaching
Texas A&M University