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Vladimir Mayakovsky

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.


1924, printed 1940s


Alexander Rodchenko
Russian, 1891-1956

About this artwork

Before turning to photography, Aleksandr Rodchenko was best known for the painting and innovative graphic design he made in the early years of Soviet Russia. He was among the pioneers of photomontage, which combined text and bold color with found photographs. His first foray into making photographs was a series of six portraits of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose forceful look he incorporated in book cover designs from 1925 to 1929.

After Mayakovsky’s death in 1930, Rodchenko was induced to turn several of his photographs into commemorative images for the newly lionized poet. The photograph’s afterlife as a popular icon was far from Rodchenko’s earlier aims, since he argued that the camera captures moments of a life rather than summarizes a person’s character. “Crystallize man not by a single ‘synthetic’ portrait,” he wrote in 1928, “but by a whole lot of snapshots taken at different times and in different conditions.”


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Photography and Media


Aleksandr Mikhailovich Rodchenko


Vladimir Mayakovsky


Russia (Artist's nationality)


Made 1924


Gelatin silver print


Image/paper: 23.8 × 16.6 cm (9 3/8 × 6 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gifts of David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg, the Sandor Family Collection in honor of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Michael D. Delman, Reva and David Logan, and Sherry and Alan Koppel; purchased with funds provided by an anonymous donor; through prior purchase with Special Photography Acquisition Fund

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Extended information about this artwork

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