Dmitri Baltermants, Russian, 1912–1990, Tchaikovsky, 1945. Gelatin silver print, 22.5 x 16.5 cm. Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund (2010-77). © Estate of Dmitri Baltermants / Photo by Bruce M. White
While following the Red Army during its seizure of Berlin, Soviet photojournalist Dmitri Baltermants found five soldiers holding an impromptu piano recital in a wrecked living room. His photograph, dubbed Tchaikovsky, became an iconic representation of the hard-won victory over Hitler. In an image as carefully wrought as a Norman Rockwell cover, Baltermants combines emblems of violent force, vivid yet bloodless—a ripped-open wall, a rubble-strewn room—with a Russian idyll of peacetime, in which young music lovers daydream about their imminent return to the motherland.