May 28, 2017

Aleksandr Deyneka: Soviet Beefcake Artist

Aleksandr Deyneka (1899-1962) is one of the most famous artists of the school of "Soviet Realism" school: bright, strong,  with restrained color and few abstractions, useful for both building Soviet morale and promoting the vigor, health, and beauty of Communist men to allies overseas.

His paintings and mosaics graced train stations, metro stations, and public buildings all over the Soviet Union.

In 1939, he was commissioned to make 34 life-sized murals for the ceiling of Mayakovskaya Metro Station in central Moscow., Like "Good Morning" here.

And these sportsmen.

Apparently no one noticed the intense interest in masculine beauty, or didn't associate it with homoeroticism.

After World War II, Deyneka turned his attention to smaller subjects -- fashion, sports, naked boys -- but he still received commissions to do murals: the assembly hall of Moscow State University (1956), the lobby of the Congresses Palace at the Kremlin (1961).

In 1964 he received the Lenin Prize for his murals "Ice Hockey.

He made several trips to the United States and Western Europe, and painted many scenes of his travels: “Philadelphia,” “Washington. Capitol”, “Dancers in Harlem,” “New York”, “Paris. River Seine,”  “Saint-Germain”, “Tuileries”, “ “Negro boy."

He died on June 12, 1969, two weeks before the Stonewall Riots.

We don't know if he was gay or not, but he certainly had an affinity for the male form.

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