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The Russian painting that’s so controversial it’s in storage

Published 20 January 2017

As the RA prepares for a major exhibition of Russian art, we go behind the scenes at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery to discover a seldom-seen painting that will be making the trip to London.

  • Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin was one of the very few artists permitted to make sketches of Vladimir Lenin in his coffin, as the Bolshevik leader lay in state in 1924. The painting he made afterwards has rarely been exhibited and spends most of its time in storage at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. In this video, Natalia Murray, co-curator of our exhibition Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932 explains why it’s so seldom on display.

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    Beside Lenin's Coffin

    Curator Natalia Murray talks about Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s painting of the dead revolutionary leader.