Commentary

A number of the posters depict landscapes in wartime, traversed by tanks, and showing burning villages and terrified population. This poster is relatively rare in showing a seascape. Russia had eventually to clear her coasts of enemy from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and along her Far Eastern seaboard.

As well as the more frequent graphic artists, traditionally-trained painters contributed their skills to the posters. The defence of their homeland united all Russians, and land- or seascapes were an important motif used to call up their love for their own country.

Facts

TASS window
889
Title
Sea Raid
Created
31 January 1944
Artist
K. A. Vialov
Writer
A.A. Zharov
Original dimensions
139cm x 122cm
Collection number
MS 281/1/12

War Context

This poster celebrates the efforts of the Russian navy. At this later stage in the war, they were called on to clear occupied territory, by raids from the sea on the Russian shoreline. No indication is given, but the siege of Leningrad was finally raised at the beginning of 1944. The Germans were also ousted from positions in the Baltic states, necessitating the Russians to undertake raids from the sea.

Artistic Roots

The dimensions of this poster, almost as wide as it is long, are strongly reminiscent of a traditional framed landscape painting. And yet the technique of marking the foreground to the right of the poster is characteristic of prints from Japan familiar in Europe from the later decades of 19th century onwards.

The poster also echoes the prevalence of mountain and sea in print work of a range of Japanese artists.

Artist

Vialov was associated with the avant-garde in Russian art in the 1920s, subsequently becoming a poster designer. He produced a number of TASS posters with a naval theme, depicted in a realistic manner.

The influence from the Japanese print, itself strong in the modernist artistic movements in Europe, figures frequently in his work. It shows particularly in techniques to create perspective and focus on detail.

Writer

Zharov’s lines celebrate the navy’s defence of the homeland. They are straight forward, the rhythm march-like, and unrelenting. There may be an effort here to ensure the contribution by the navy is not forgotten.