Bust of Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) as a High School Student,
by Kasli foundry, dated 1964.
Cast iron with black finish, measures 15 1/2" tall, 10 ½"
wide at shoulders; the base of the plinth is 4 ¾" x 4".
This incredibly massive piece weighs 24 lb. There is a
raised Kasli foundry mark with 1964 date to the underside of
the plinth, along with a maker's mark "74".
The bust is in outstanding condition, completely free of
dents or dings. The bust has been repainted as is often the
necessity with older Kasli and Kusa cast iron statues to
protect them from rust. Its attractive matte coat of black
paint however is a perfect match to the original finish that
the bust had when it left the factory.
The sculpture is apparently based on an iconic photograph of
Vladimir Ulyanov taken when he was a high school senior,
before he became a revolutionary and acquired his nom-de-
guerre Lenin. The same photo was also used as a model for
the famous painting depicting young Vladimir consoling his
mother after she just learned of her older son Alexander's
execution for the attempted assassination of the Tsar. The
future Bolshevik leader supposedly told his mother that he
had chosen a "different path" - meaning an organized
movement vs. terror tactics. Little did his mom know that
what her surviving son really meant was a terror on the
scale comparable hitherto only with Genghis Khan (the major
difference being of course that unlike the Horde, the
massacre would be inflicted primarily upon his own people.)
This statue is one of the most uncommon and well made busts
of Lenin we have handled to date. Both its scale and quality
contrast sharply with the ubiquitous mass produced
statuettes. It was clearly a limited edition intended
perhaps for elite schools, best young pioneer camps, or
offices of high ranking bureaucrats in the Ministry of
Education. We have seen recent reproductions of the same
model occasionally offered for sale in Russian souvenir
shops (at prices rather hefty for a replica), but this piece
is unquestionably a Soviet era original.