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The artist, Boris Kustodiev, uses color only for the cover, where the red in the title and the Soviet star on Tom’s checkered cap reinforces Tom’s status as a Soviet protagonist. The boy’s lively face, merry smile, and missing tooth evoke above all the ebullient image of Ilf and Petrov's Ostap Bender, the con man protagonist of the picaresque Twelve Chairs (1928) and Golden Calf (1931).

Monument to Ostap Bender in St. Petersburg:




"Brockhaus-Efron Leningrad 1925" (publication information).

"Nadezheda Pavlovich"

"Drawings by B. Kustodiev"

"Bolshevik" -- the stylized typographical layout of the first word of the title reflects the legacy of avant-garde experiments, pioneered by the likes of El Lissitzky in the early 1920s. The presentation is playful and dynamic, being at once both jumbled and ordered, hard to read and legible.

Example of El Lissitzky's Suprematist Tale of Two Squares (1922)