Russia 2018’s World Cup poster features the great goalkeeper Lev Yashin and is inspired by 1920s Russian art
With its verdant green circle surrounded by vivid orange rays beaming down on to the unmistakable, sprawling figure of Lev Yashin, Russia has produced a piece of artwork that lives up to a great tradition of World Cup posters.
From the first World Cup in 1930 through to the upcoming 2018 edition, each tournament has been represented by an official poster showcasing both the role of the host nation and also the global scale of the event.
And, from Chile 1962’s lunar design to the African symbolism of 2010, most have been stunningly beautiful.
Russia 2018’s effort harks back to the very first World Cup poster, from Uruguay in 1930, which also featured a goalkeeper diving with outstretched arms to his left to make a save. In this case it is Yashin, the country’s most famous footballer, who is still the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or (in 1963) and was known as the ‘Black Spider’. He is wearing his signature outfit of black shirt and shorts, knee brace and cap.
The artist behind the work, Igor Gurovich, was inspired by art’s Constructivist movement, which originated in Russia in the 1920s and often sought to make social statements so was associated with propaganda.
According to FIFA, ‘the rays of light emanating from the ball, a common feature of Constructivist work, symbolises the tournament’s energy, while the circle of green represents the pitches of 12 stadiums in 11 Host Cities that will stage the 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.’
Gurovich said: ‘The style of Soviet post-Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 1930s, their unique visual language, a new, fresh poetry of figurative images, became one of the most important and revered elements of Russian culture. This language is unquestionably thought of as Russian throughout the world. Therefore, in my work on the poster, I really wanted to make this language modern and relevant once again.’
Whether you make sense of that or not, one thing most will agree upon is that it is another breathtaking poster to add to the World Cup’s glorious history. Here is every one, from 1930 onwards…
The very first World Cup poster, for Uruguay in 1930, was an Art Deco design by Guillermo Laborde showing a goalkeeper making a flying save; a home player was featured prominently by hosts Italy in 1934, with plenty of international flags
France hosted the World Cup in 1938 and after a 12-year break due to World War II, Brazil took over in 1950 (right)
The eye-catching and unusual Switzerland 1954 poster again had a goalkeeper but with an obscured face; the design for Sweden 1958 looked more like the Hollywood movie posters of the time with its silhouetted footballer and bright background
A football-moon circles the earth for 1962’s design, with hosts Chile highlighted in light brown; World Cup Willie, the tournament’s first ever mascot who was a lion in…