Your clues this week are:
- The artist was born at the very end of the 19th-century in a town that (1) saw the largest tank battle in history, and (2) lent its name to a nuclear-powered submarine that sank with all hands on August 12, 2000.
- After dropping out of railroad college, our always-practical mystery person trained -- not in painting or sculpture, but -- in graphic design. Yes, the artist threw away a respectable career as a depot worker in order to kick off a dodgy career by stenciling propaganda posters.
- From this humble beginning the artist went on to become internationally famous for paintings, and domestically famous for ceiling mosaics.
- The artist was instrumental in the creation of Social Realism, a new style of art that idealized everyday life under a dictatorship. One might suppose that Social Realism was a huge hit with the public because it was plastered far and wide, and it depicted dazzling conditions. And life was indeed rosy ... unless one was an "elite," a peasant, an academic, a member of the clergy, from an ethnic minority, a government bureaucrat, military brass, an "old guard" revolutionary, a writer, a Fascist, a scientist, a farmer that owned land, a Buddhist lama, a hostile capitalist, a saboteur of agriculture or industry, or that handy catch-all: an enemy of the state. Those people, those millions of people, stood an excellent chance of either dying quickly, by execution, or dying slowly at a work camp running on Vladivostok Time. Now, how would that look on a poster? Not too hot for Comrade Dictator, I'm guessing.
Last Week's Answer:
Susan in San Francisco took one look at last week's clues and emailed to say the correct answer is Monsieur Paul CÚzanne. We were looking at his ca. 1876 Flowers in a Rococo Vase, part of the fabulous Chester Dale Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Well done, Susan, and thank you to everyone else who participated!