There is a long article in the newspaper today (Weekly mail & Guardian, 27 October 2000), extracted from Picasso: the communist years by Gertje R Utley, Yale University press, on Pablo Picasso's involvement in the Communist movement from the year 1944. In later years his support became less enthusiastic, but he apparently never completely broke with the party.

I did not know this before. I respect him for the idealism and altruism, to be dreamer enough to join a movement that promised a better, more egalitarian way than greed. I do not respect him for staying when the gaps between the ideology and the reality widened.

Anyway, he drew the great leader Stalin on one occasion, but was hesitant to do so again or to sculpt him. Here are his reasons:

Can you imagine if I had done the real Stalin, such as he has become, with his wrinkles, his pockets under the eyes, his warts. A portrait in the style of Cranach! Can you hear them scream? 'He has disfigured Stalin! He has aged Stalin!'

And then too, I said to myself, why not a Stalin in heroic nudity? ... yes, but Stalin nude, and what about his virility? If you take the pecker of the classical sculptor ... so small ... But, come on, Stalin, he was a true male, a bull. So then, if you give him the phallus of a bull, and you've got this little Stalin behind this big thing they'll cry: But you’ve made him into a sex maniac! A satyr!

Then if you are a true realist you will take a tape measure and measure it all properly. That's worse, you made Stalin into an ordinary man. And then, as you are ready to sacrifice yourself, you make a plaster cast of your own thing. Well, it's even worse. What, you dare take yourself for Stalin! After all, Stalin, he must have had an erection all the time, just like the Greek statues ... Tell me, you who knows, socialist realism: is that Stalin with an erection or without an erection?
  - Pablo Picasso

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