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Fun Break at the Front on the March Toward Berlin

Accession Number
2012/2.76

Title
Fun Break at the Front on the March Toward Berlin

Artist(s)
Dmitri Baltermants

Artist Nationality
Russian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1945

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

Dimensions
16 in x 20 in (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Agah, Class of 1989 (BBA)

Subject matter
In this photograph, a man and woman duo perform acrobatic tricks on top of a tank. The contrast between entertainment and combat is here made jarringly explicit, though undermined in interesting ways. For instance, the tautly muscled leg of the woman performer is extended horizontally, a visual element that mirrors the vertical lines of the tank gun barrels pointing in various directions throughout the image. Another visual rhyme, the rings that both performers hold correspond to the white circles that form the “8” on the tank’s hull just below their feet. The lower register of the picture is taken up by a crowd of soldiers, who pack in shoulder to shoulder to watch the spectacle, a diversion from the monotony of extended campaigns and/or violence of combat. This image forms part of Baltermants’s larger project (as an official photographer to the Kremlin) which, spread across numerous portfolios, aimed to document scenes from the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazi Germany during World War II (1939-1945), known in the USSR as the Great Patriotic War.

Physical Description
A man and woman perform circus tricks on top of a stopped tank while a crowd of soldiers watch. 

Primary Object Classification
Photograph

Collection Area
Photography

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
acrobats
journalistic photography
performing artists
soldiers
tanks (military vehicles)
war photography

13 Related Resources

Apocalypses
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Celebrity
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Decadence
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Dmitri Baltermants photographs from WWII
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Narrative Photography
(Part of: Visual Narrative)
Technology and Modernity in Photography 1900-1948
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
The Crowd
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Combat, Battle, Warfare
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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