Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sunday, I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday: The Purrfict Martial Art of Alexander Zavaliy
Born in 27 January 1955 in Vorkuta, a coal-mining town in the Komi Republic (its north of the Arctic Circle and its name means “place teems with bears”), Alexander Zavaliy went to officer school and served in the Red Army, being forward deployed to East Germany and seeing what Afghanistan looks like on the two ruble a day plan.
Leaving the military, he studied art at Kuban State University in Krasnodar then settled in the warm Black Sea town of Gelendzhik near Novorossiysk and took up painting and drawing. In the past twenty years he has cranked out some 500 works as a professional illustrator and recently came up with the idea of portraying Russo-Soviet military history, with a slight twist.
He uses cats as models, but going beyond the feline factor, uses a lot of military authenticity.
Hussar of the Patriotic War of 1812
Tsarist Cossack of the Imperial Konvoy cat with his cavalry shaska on watermelon practice. Note the Austin-Putilov armored car in the background with its distinctive twin Maxim turrets. Of the 250~ Austins built during WWI, just 33 were Russian made Pulitov models but both kinds were used in against both the Germans and in the famed Armored Car unit in Petrograd during the Revolution, mentioned several times in John Reed’s 10 Days That Shook the World.
White Russian army officer cat complete with Tsarist cap insignia and shoulder boards. Note all four orders of the Cross of the Knights of St. George across his blouse and the British Mark V series tank behind him– 60 of these beasts were used by the Whites in the Ukraine with British assistance and went on to become the first Soviet tanks.
Black Sea Soviet Naval Infantry, WWII. Note the Maxim machinegun belt, and captured Mauser bayonet
Minesweeper. Dig the M91 Mosin on his back and the E-tool sticking up over the bedrool
Hero sniper inspecting his Mosin rifle, note the Note German Shepherd looking out through the ruins of the Theater Building in Stalingrad
Which leads to the inevitable surrender of cat versions of Friedrich Paulus, General-Feldmarshal (left) and his aides Col. Wilhelm Adam (right) and Lt.-Gen. Arthur Schmidt (middle)
For reference: ADN-ZB/TASS II. Weltkrieg 1939-45 Schlacht um Stalingrad vom Juli 1942 bis Februar 1943 Der kriegsgefangene Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus (l.), bisher Oberbefehlshaber der faschistischen 6. Armee in Stalingrad, trifft am 31.1.1943 mit seinem Stabschef, Generalleutnant Arthur Schmidt (m.), und seinen Adjutanten, Oberst Wilhelm Adam, beim Stab der sowjetischen 64. Armee in Beketowka ein.
Russian cats in the German army– note the Schmisser and the dog collar gorget on the German Feldgendarmerie
A very happy frontovik with his accordion
Surrender of a Tiger tank. The SS Doberman doesnt look like he is going to make it, but the Wehrmacht German Shepherd just may. Note the late war PPS-43 and quilted winter uniform
A very Marshal Zhukov-like comrade cat at his desk. Note the 100 dog kills medal and the coffee glass filled with cream
And of course, a glorious Red Army VDV airborne forces paratrooper with his AK-74 and Guards telnyashka striped shirt
Of course Zavaliy also has a body of more serious work as well.
Thank you for your work, sir.