Diana S. bought this Karl Marx bust in the museum shop of the Karl-Marx-House in Trier in 2004. Today, it has a place of honour in her flat in London.
Diana was born in Leningrad – what is now St. Petersburg – in the former Soviet Union. Her family left and moved to Germany in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed. In 2006, Diana came to the UK to study history at Cambridge University and stayed there for her Masters and PhD.
She has always had a great interest in Marxism, and part of her academic research focuses on the history of socialist imagery: ‘This bust in particular reminds me of the propaganda statues that were displayed across the Soviet Union, East Germany and other communist countries’, she explains and continues: ‘However, it is actually from the place where Marx lived in his youth – when he was still far from being an “icon”’.
Not only from an academic perspective does Marx resonate with Diana. He was born in Germany in 1818 and his writings laid the foundations for modern Communism, an ideology that was at the foundation of the Soviet Union. In 1849, he too came to London, where he wrote some of his most important works and where he stayed for the rest of his life. He died in 1883 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery, where a similarly grand but far larger bust than Diana’s towers over his grave. Although it is ‘only a souvenir’, the bust and the person it portrays reflect Diana’s life story very vividly.
- Year of Purchase: 2004
- Place of Purchase: Karl-Marx-House museum shop, Trier
- Artist: Unknown
- Material: Stone, metal
- Size: 7 x 12 x 7 cm
- Colour: White, bronze