In 2013 a painting of Russian Tsar Nicholas II was discovered on the reverse of a portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of the 1917 revolution that overthrew the Tsar’s rule.
The portrait of Tsar Nicholas II – which was painted by Ilya Galkin in 1896 – went unnoticed for more than ninety years, on the back of a portrait of Lenin painted in 1924 by Vladislav Izmailovich. It was discovered in 2013 when a school in Saint Petersburg asked the Stieglitz State Academy of Arts to restore a large portrait of Lenin, showing the Bolshevik leader standing in front of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg. When creating the likeness of Lenin, Izmailovich appears to have wanted – at great risk to himself – to retain the image of the Tsar on the other side of the canvas.
Sam Havadtoy recreated the two paintings in his own unique style. The paintings are on display in the exhibition: IT TAKES A GREAT IDEAL TO PRODUCE A GREAT CRIME!