How Humble, How Holy He is!
The letter Ю from The Anti-Religious Alphabet
14 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (37.8 x 27 cm)
Mikhail Mikhailovich Cheremnykh
(Tomsk, Russia, 1890 - 1962, Moscow, USSR)
Full Title:The letter Ю from The Anti-Religious Alphabet
Medium and Support:
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
The Anti-Religious Alphabet
From a portfolio of 27 prints.
One of the key changes that the Soviet government made to agriculture was to replace individual land ownership with the collective farm, or kolkhoz. Here, the fist at the right, crowned with the cap of the kulak, or rich landowner, manipulates a village "holy fool" with strings like those of a marionette. Holy fools traveled itinerantly throughout the countryside and were often seen as prophets of wisdom. Here, the holy fool is crying out to an old peasant woman "Don't join the kolkhoz," which was the obvious desire of the kulak. The artist Cheremnykh used word play to strengthen the imagery: in Russian, kulak is also the word for fist.