1894, Bezhetsk (Tver Province) - 1971, Leningrad

At the Stadium


  • oil on canvas. 121 х 140,5
  • ЖБ-1723

  • Received in 1935 via the Leningrad City Council from the First Exhibition of Leningrad Artists

Sport was one of the most popular themes in Soviet art in the mid-1920s and 1930s. Called upon to form the ideal of the new man, artists discerned its prototype in athletes — handsome young men and women perfecting their bodies and hardening the spirit. Sportsmen became the main characters of the works of Alexander Samokhvalov, who dreamt of uniting them in a grandiose monumental composition. Perhaps that is why so many of his paintings of this period are like details of a large, multi-figure fresco. The artist himself described sport as an “existential joy” helping people overcome difficulties “in the struggle for the creation of a new life” and furthering their “love for humankind”. “I loved sport as the culture of healthy, vivacious and joyful people… I was attracted to the healthy creative spirit in healthy bodies,” he wrote.

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