New Planet, 1921 by Konstantin Yuon. Photograph: © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow/DACS 2017
Lenin, dead at 53, appears in monumental close-up in an open red coffin. The queuing mourners, also painted on the spot, are diminutive by comparison. Six years later, in 1930, he is revived as a lifesize portrait of intellectual power, working on his writings (the chair opposite significantly empty, as if inviting the passing worker to join the dialectic).
‘A Muscovite Michelangelo’: Shock-worker from Dneprostroi, 1932 by Isaak Brodsky.
Photograph: © Russian Academy of Fine Arts Museum, St Petersburg
The Bolshevik, 1920 by Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev. Photograph: © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Lenin grows into a bronze colossus, shrinks to a china figurine, becomes an abstract canvas. He is a dinner plate, a headscarf or a porcelain vase. The leader, dead or alive, comes in all shapes and sizes.
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