Mukhina was born in Riga and is considered one of the finest Russian sculptors of the 20th century, as well as a graphic and theatre artist.
In 1908-1911 she studied at the studio of K. F. Yuon, from 1911-1912 at the studio of I. I. Mashkov, in Paris at the Grand Chomier Academy under E. A. Bourdelle (1912), at the private school of F. Colarossi and at La Palette Academy in the classes of H. Le Fauconnier and J. Metzinger. From 1926- 1927 Mukhina taught at the Art and Industry College within the Museum of Toys and from 1927-1930 at the All-Russia Art and Technology Institute in Moscow.
She was a member of the Moscow Trade Union of Sculpture Artists (1917-1919), the Four Arts society of artists (1924-1931) and the Society of Russian Sculptors (1925-1932). In 1937, she was awarded the Grand Prix at the World's Fair in Paris. She was a People's Artist of the USSR, a full member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR and a Laureate of the State Award of the USSR.
Mukhina's travels to Paris and Italy profoundly influenced the present work. This sculptural composition, which is a preliminary work for the finished bronze, now in the All Russian Exhibition Centre in Moscow, is one of the most powerful statements of Socialist Realism in Soviet art. The composition is a synthesis of a number of sources, important amongst which are the classical statue of Harmodius and Aristogeiton (Naples Archaeological Museum) and La Marseillaise, immortalised on the Arc de Triomphe.