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Pictures by Siege of Leningrad survivors in Museum of Political History


The exhibition titled ‘Siege graphics: heroism, everyday life and memory’ showcases pictures by survivors of the Siege of Leningrad.


An exhibition titled ‘Siege graphics: heroism, everyday life and memory’ has opened in the Museum of Political History of Russia. The authors of the drawings and paintings displayed are survivors of the Siege of Leningrad.

‘Some of the pictures were created in later years, in the 1960-s and 1970-s, but their authors are people who survived the Siege of Leningrad in their youth, it was a vivid memory for them’, Alexey Boyko, head of the replicated graphics department of the Museum of Political History, tells.

30 drawings, paintings and sketches are exhibited. The pictures by Elena Marttila stand out by their tragic atmosphere. The artist was born in 1923 and spend two years in the besieged city. One of the pictures titled ‘Chrystal cradle’ depicts dead bodies drifting on the Neva ice.

According to Svetlana Khodakovskaya, head curator of the museum, there was a period when Elena Marttila’s works were not exhibited at all, they were too tragic and contradicted the heroic image of Leningrad Siege survivors. ‘But now we understand that it was not just courage, it was a sacrifice’, she adds.

The defendants of Leningrad did their best to keep the city’s beauty from destruction. The artist Tatiana Vizel depicted her colleague Olga Firsova when concealing the spire of the Admiralty. The two women were mountaineers and helped save many architectural monuments.

Another impressive work is the etching ‘Wounded child’ by Alexander Kharshak based on a newspaper drawing of 1942.

The painting ‘Ram Attack by Kharitonov’ was created by the artists Pakulin and Pilschikov for the museum of the heroic defense of Leningrad that was opened in 1944. But in the 1950-s the exposition was closed, and it is a miracles that the exhibits, including this painting, were saved.

The Siege of Leningrad had more than one aspects to it – heroism and power, tragedy and despair, love and triumph. The last picture of the exhibition is ‘Heroic Leningrad’ by the brothers Aladzhalovs depicting people watching the fireworks on the day when the Siege of Leningrad was fully lifted with tears in their eyes.

Photo anf video: St. Petersburg TV channel