This version of Biró's Red Man with a Hammer was one of many produced during the tumult of Hungary’s 1919 revolution. The poster advertised May Day celebrations, a holiday associated with the international worker's movement; it would be the biggest public event during the 133 days of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. Embodying the energy of the revolutionary masses, Biró's red man glorified the common worker as the equivalent of mythological figures Hercules, or Vulcan at his forge. The concept of posters as public decorations for May Day was at least partly inspired by Soviet Russian precedents. "The defiant simplicity, the removal of peripheral things, and the menacing power of the delivery—all these are the hallmarks of Biró," wrote the critic Pál Nadái at the time.
Gallery label from Seeing Red: Hungarian Revolutionary Posters, 1919, February 2–August 1, 2011.