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‘Art in Russia after the Revolution’ with Dr. Mark Banting

13 Apr 2019
9:45 am - 2:45 pm

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“Art of Post Russian Revolution”

With the success of the 1917 Revolution, the first few years of the Soviet Union witnessed the horror of civil war and huge social upheaval as the Communist Party sought to establish and consolidate power. And, as we’ll see today, the visual arts were very much part of that process.


09.45 Registration

10.00 – 11.00 The 1920’s: Art for the Workers

Introduction: Whilst Lenin was fairly traditional when it came to the arts, his Culture Secretary, Lunacharsky, permitted a relatively free reign to artistic experimentation in the search for new – proletarian, socialist – art forms. In part one, we’ll explore some of the radical developments in the avant-garde from painting to music, photography to fashion.

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee and Tea

11.30 – 12.30 The 1930’s: Soviet Realism

The leadership of Stalin however brought a consolidation of Party authority, and artistic experiment was reined in. From the mid-1920s ‘realism’ soon became the order of the day for artists, leading to the establishment of Socialist Realism, thereby integrating culture with Party policy. Looking at key examples of Socialist Realist painting, we’ll discover how Soviet art was re-defined in the 1930’s.

12.30-1.30 Lunch by Daisy’s and tea and coffee

1.30 – 2.30 The 1940’s: The Art of War

Our focus in part three will be World War II – The Great Patriotic War as it is called in Russia. On the one hand state patronage saw Soviet art primarily as a means of propaganda, yet artists also recorded the devastation of war. Reviewing the terrible Siege of Leningrad moreover, we’ll discuss how artists upheld and inspired the courage of their fellow citizens through the visual arts, poetry and, of course, the music of Shostakovich.


Mark Banting is an independent researcher of art history and visual culture currently working on 19th and 20th century artists’ groups and colonies.

Yablonskaya – Grain (1949), Tretyakov Gallery
Alexander Deineka –Textile Workers (1927), Tretyakov Gallery

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