Although any war is always a tragedy not only for the nations directly involved in the conflict but also for all of humanity, it can be a creative impetus for many people. How many incredible paintings were created! How many outstanding books were written!
Aleksandr Deyneka, a Soviet artist, sculptor and educator, made a significant contribution to the world of art during the Second World War. Firstly, this famous artist followed his family tradition and entered the Kursk railroad college. However, he simultaneously attended the night classes at an art workshop. The teachers observed Deyneka’s painting skills and pushed him to pursue the artistic training at the Kharkiv Art College (currently the Kharkiv State School of Art). He came to Kharkiv in 1915 and studied at the institution under the Russian Soviet realist painter Alexander Lubimov. And it was the beginning of his brilliant career.
After completing his education, to support his family in Kursk, he worked as a photographer at the local Criminal Investigation Department and gave art lessons at a women’s gymnasium.
In 1919, Deyneka began his one-year military service in the Red Army where he applied his artistic abilities by heading his unit’s Art Department and producing posters for propaganda activities. In addition, the young artist took an active part in the theatrical performances at the front and in the decoration of the propaganda trains. After that, he participated in numerous exhibition and gained acclaim for his work.
It was World War II that had a great influence on the artworks of Aleksandr Deyneka. The artist depicted the front-line life in Moscow and travelled to the front in order to show the terrible war scenes. The canvases of this period include The Shot-Down Ace, The Outskirts of Moscow, The Battle of Sevastopol among others and the paintings he made after the trip to Berlin in May of 1945.
After the war, the artist continued to paint as actively as he did at the beginning of his career. Although, the characters of his canvases had no former energy. In addition to painting, he produced a lot of sculptures from wood, majolica, bronze, porcelain and cement.