Soviet Art

USSR Culture

Boris Prorokov Soviet graphic artist

Boris Prorokov

Boris Prorokov

Soviet graphic artist; cartoonist, satire master, poster artist, sculptor. Member of the Union of Artists of the USSR. Corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Arts (1954). Laureate of the Lenin Prize (1961) and two Stalin Prizes of the third degree (1950, 1952). Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1955). People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1963). People’s Artist of the USSR (1971).


Boris Ivanovich Prorokov was born in Ivanovo-Voznesensk in a working class family. In many ways, the worldview of the future artist was formed in the creative atmosphere of the parental home. His father worked as a colorist in a print factory, was an amateur musician, played the violin and viola. Mother was a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, she had a wonderful voice. All the children in the family played musical instruments, and friendly musical evenings were held in the Prophet’s house.

Behind the barbed wire. 1958-1959

Behind the barbed wire. 1958-1959

Boris Prorokov entered Soviet art as an art correspondent (“artist”) of Komsomolskaya Pravda, he turned to political satire on international themes, completed thematic drawings, and received the first prize for them at the 1929 competition. Then he studied at the Moscow Vkhutemas-Vhutein, with P. Ya. Pavlinov and D. S. Moor. He graduated from the institute in 1931. In the 1930s he served in the Red Army.

The beginning of the artistic activity of Boris Prorokov coincided with the birth of fascism in Europe.

The young artist actively collaborated with the magazines Smena (1929–1937) and Krokodil (since 1938). In 1939 he created new political cartoons and the first programmatic work in the genre of fine journalism – the textbook poster-drawing “Fascism is the enemy of culture”.

Member of the Great Patriotic War since 1941. Served as an artist of the Main Directorate of Political Propaganda of the Navy in the Baltic, then the Black Sea, again the Baltic and, finally, the Pacific fleets. He created drawings for front-line printing (magazines “Baltic Projector”, “Heroic Campaign”, “Red Gangut”, “Polundra”) and leaflets that were dropped from aircraft over enemy territory. Boris Prorokov walked along the roads of war from Finland, the Baltic States, Novorossiysk, Berlin to the Far East. He took part in the battles for Novorossiysk (on “Malaya Zemlya”) and in the heroic defense of the Hanko Peninsula. In 1944 he was seriously wounded (then suffered from headaches all his life).

Dead silence. 1941

Dead silence. 1941


Boris Prorokov was awarded numerous state awards; the Orders of the Red Star (1944) and the Red Banner of Labor, the medal “For Military Merit” (1942). He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the gold medal “Fighter for Peace”, the bronze medal of the International Exhibition in Brussels, medals “For the Defense of the Caucasus”, “For the Defense of Leningrad”, “For Victory over Germany”, “For Victory over Japan”.

1950-1960s – creates nineteen series of easel graphics, three of which brought him worldwide fame: “Americans in Europe” (1952), “This must not happen again” (1958-59) and “Son” (1969-70) …

Fascism is the enemy of culture, 1935

Fascism is the enemy of culture, 1935

He worked a lot with ink, often resorting to mixed techniques.

His post-war works are distinguished by their laconic style and special expressiveness of contrasting drawing. Boris Prorokov is the author of tough political graphic series: “In Kuomintang China” (1945-1947), “Here it is, America!” (1948), “For Peace!” (1950), “Mayakovsky on America” ​​(1951-1954). The sheet “Truman’s tanks to the bottom!” (1950), popular at anti-American demonstrations around the world. He achieved impressive emotionality and, at the same time, artistry of the Prophets in the cycle “This must not happen again!” (1958-1959).

Occasionally, he was engaged in posters, as a rule, political – anti-fascist and anti-American, many of them became classics of the Soviet propaganda poster: “The united anti-fascist front will win!” (1938), “Fascism is the enemy of culture” (1939), “Truman’s tanks to the bottom!” (1950), “Statue of Liberty” (1951). In 1962, the drawing “Truman’s Tanks to the Bottom!” (“Tanks of the aggressor to the bottom!”) Was depicted on a postage stamp of the USSR.

Hunger. 1958-1959

Hunger. 1958-1959

In the historical center of the city of Ivanovo, a street is named after the artist, on which the house-museum of Boris Ivanovich Prorokov was opened in 1980. It is located in a wooden one-story house, where his family lived from 1927 to 1949.

The artist’s graphic and printed works are in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, the Voronezh Regional Museum of Fine Arts, and the Prorokov House-Museum. B. I. Prorokov’s posters are kept in the collection of the Russian State Library, the Memorial Museum of German Anti-Fascists (MMNA) in Krasnogorskev, private Russian and foreign collections.

Boris Ivanovich Prorokov, In ruins. 1958-1959

In ruins. 1958-1959

Boris Ivanovich Prorokov, Partisan. From the series In China. 1947. An ink drawing

Partisan. From the series In China. 1947. An ink drawing

Boris Ivanovich Prorokov. Remember Hiroshima. 1958-1959

Remember Hiroshima. 1958-1959