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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Daily LIFT #894


The Cobblestone Is the Weapon of the Proletariat (1927), sculpture, Ivan Shadr, USSR -- Daily LIFT #894


From USSR Magazine, March 1963:


The male figure is bent like a taut spring, muscles tense, lips compressed, fury and hate in his eyes. He is tearing a cobblestone from the pavement. An amazing face! You look at it from one side, then the other, and you almost see the expression change. Ivan Shadr's sculptured figure The Cobblestone Is the Weapon of the Proletariat (1927) is known the world over.


Great events produce great artists. With the October 1917 Revolution, Shadr turned from the abstract symbolism of his earlier period and began to create heroic images for a heroic age. In January 1924, when the country was mourning the death of Lenin, he was asked to do a sculpture of the great leader before he was entombed. He worked steadily for 46 hours and created a figure that embodied not only the sorrow of the whole nation but also the greatness of Lenin's thoughts.


On the occasion of Shadr's seventy-fifth birthday a retrospective show was held at the State Pushkin Art Museum where more than 70 of his sculptured portraits, bas-reliefs and sketches were displayed. Among them was his widely known portrait of Maxim Gorky, that "stormy petrel of the Revolution", and his unforgettable Sower, a big-boned muscular peasant scattering seed with a wide sweep of the hand.


Fidel and Che visit the sculpture at the art show at the Soviet Exhibition in Havana, 1960


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