Ivan Shadr

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shadr, Ivan Dmitrievich


(real surname, Ivanov). Born Jan. 30 (Feb. 11), 1887, in Shadrinsk, in what is now Kurgan Oblast, RSFSR; died Apr. 3,1941, in Moscow. Soviet sculptor.

Shadr studied under T. Zal’kaln at a commercial art school in Ekaterinburg from 1903 to 1907 and at the drawing school of the Society for the Promotion of the Arts in St. Petersburg in the years 1907 and 1908. In 1910 and 1911 he studied in Paris, where he profited from the advice of E. A. Bourdelle and A. Rodin, and in 1911 and 1912 he was in Rome. In 1926 he became a member of the Society of Russian Sculptors.

Shadr’s early works, for example, his design for the unrealized Monument to World Suffering (1915), reveal the influence of art nouveau. Shadr helped carry out Lenin’s plan of monument propaganda. The revolution had a considerable impact on his work; his romantic, generalized depictions took on a more concrete meaning, expressing zeal for social transformation. Shadr’s mastery of plastic form aided him in his expressive and true-to-life series The Red Army Soldier, The Worker, The Sower, and The Peasant, which was intended for reproduction on postage stamps, bank notes, and bonds (all in plaster, 1922, Museum of the Revolution of the USSR, Moscow; cast in bronze, 1951, Tret’iakov Gallery).

Shadr’s sculpture The Cobblestone—Weapon of the Proletariat dynamically portrays a young worker ripping a cobblestone from the pavement. The work has become symbolic of the rising revolutionary force of the popular masses.

Beginning in 1924, Shadr devoted a good deal of time to depicting V. I. Lenin. His monument to Lenin on the dam of the Zemo-Avchaly Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Georgian SSR is one of the best of Soviet monuments. The sculpture renders the leader’s great historical importance with lifelike veracity. It fits organically into the surrounding mountainous landscape, with the power plant and dam. The culmination of Shadr’s accomplishments in monumental sculpture was his design for the monument to M. Gorky in Moscow (bronze, 1939, Tret’iakov Gallery), which was executed by V. I. Mukhina together with N. G. Zelenskaia and Z. G. Ivanova (bronze and granite, 1951).

Shadr tended toward symbolic generalization in his portraits, for example, The Mother (plaster, 1922, collection of T. V. Shadr-Ivanova, Moscow; bronze, Tret’iakov Gallery) and Maksim Gorky: The Stormy Petrel (bronze, 1939, Tret’iakov Gallery). This tendency is also evident in his gravestones, for example, that of E. N. Nemirovich-Danchenko (marble and labradorite, 1939, Novodevich’e Cemetery, Moscow).

Shadr’s works are pervaded with revolutionary romanticism. They were important in establishing socialist realism in Soviet sculpture.


Kolpinskii, Iu. D. I. D. Shadr: 1887–1941. Moscow, 1954.
I. D. Shadr [1887–1941]—Iubileinaia vystavka k 75-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia: Katalog. Moscow, 1962.
Voronova, O. P. Shadr. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.