A Sticky Situation: On the Moscow Outskirts

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A. Deineka, On the Moscow Outskirts, 1942
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting

It's freezing cold, you live in Russia and you just spent all day hammering steel girders into frozen earth, could it get worse? Yes, yes it can. Its December of 1941 and the German Army is twelve miles from Red Square. A sense of unique Russian hopelessness fills the painting. The rooftops of the buildings slope down to the far right of the painting while the ground slopes up, forcing the eye on the the retreating tuck. This truck is a clear sign of what come soon, a complete abandonment of Moscow. But there is still hope, the steel girders defy the lines set forth by the ground and roofs. They form both a literal and artistic bulwark against the despair of defeat. Lighting in the painting also adds to the story presented here. The German approaches on the left side of the painting is shrouded in darkness, both of the smoke of war and a warning of what may come to Moscow. The left is bathed in light, a sign that the workers paradise of Russia is still alive and ready to fight. But, the most terrifying prospect of this painting is the date, 1941. Four bloody more years of war are to come, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk, Berlin and the post-war pillaging of Germany are yet to come.

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