Magnificent equestrian statue of Vasily Chapayev, commander of the Red Army's 25th Infantry division during the Russian Civil War, and the most iconic Bolshevik soldier of Soviet lore.
10 1/2" x 8 1/4" x3". Silumin alloy figure sculpted by Soviet artist Alexei Murzin, famous for his military equestrian figures, who signed the base in not just one but two locations. The original figure was sculpted in 1975.
Chapayev is poised, binoculars in hand, watching the horizon for enemy troops. He wears the riding boots, cape and fur cap of a Cossack and his horse has an expressive and warlike face.
Statue is in excellent condition. The horse is firmly affixed to the base. The silver finish has a beautiful patina that makes it look similar to the sculptures once displayed in Regimental Mess Halls around the world. The horse and rider are firmly affixed to the base.
Vasily Chapayev was elected commander of the Red Army's 25th Infantry Division and was instrumental in defeating Alexander Kolchak's White forces in Summer 1919. On the night of 5 September, his headquarters was attacked by a White Cossack Corps and he was killed in action, drowned while retreating across the Ural River under machinegun fire. His body was never found.
During WW1, Chapayev had been an Infantry NCO and he proved himself an exemplary soldier, earning four St. George crosses and the title of Cavalier of the Order of St. George. He joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 and soon earned the Order of the Red Banner. However, it was a novel and movie that propelled him into the stratosphere of Soviet historical fame.
In 1923, Dmitry Furmanov, Chapayev's Commissar, published a somewhat fictionalized memoir about Chapayev which became a best seller, spawning memorabilia, a hugely popular 1934 action film (allegedly Stalin's favorite movie) and even a whole genre of sarcastic jokes that are still circulating today in post-Soviet Russia. Although factual accounts of Chapayev are few, Soviet propaganda's depiction of him as an unruly cowboy appealed to a broad cross section of the population as an antidote to the dreary monotony of Soviet life.
Murzin's work can be still be seen in virtually every Russian museum that covers the history of the 20th century; the former "Museums of the Revolution" in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, even though renamed, were still displaying his work as recently as 2008.
This superb piece of Soviet art was made to impress and inspire, a purpose which it still achieves. This will make a formidable centerpiece for an advanced collection of Soviet memorabilia - or simply become a dramatic accessory on a library table in front of a picture window!