Like several artists of his generation, Fyodor Shurpin came from a rural background and produced a body of work that took country life and landscape as its subject. His studies transported him from his humble hometown in Smolensk Province to Moscow, where he studied at the avant-garde academy Vkhutemas (later Vkhutein) between approximately 1922 and 1930. Shurpin regularly participated in official state exhibitions throughout the period of Stalinist Socialist Realism and was also invited to exhibit internationally. In 1948 he tried his hand at official portraiture and created his masterpiece Utro nashey Rodiny (The Morning of Our Motherland), which depicts Joseph Stalin in his resplendent white uniform before the backdrop of a rural landscape. The painting—commonly acknowledged as the most famous portrait of the leader—was met with critical and popular acclaim and earned Shurpin the Stalin Prize in 1949. In 1954 the work was shown in China as part of the influential exhibition of economic and cultural achievements of the USSR that took place at the Sūlián zhǎnlǎn guǎn (Soviet Union Exhibition Hall) in Beijing. In 1969 Shurpin initiated the founding of the Fotografii Galereya (Pictures Gallery) in the provincial town of Shumyachi (Smolensk Province), to which he donated fifty of his works.