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From Deineka to the painting “Again Two”: what painting style Stalin created

Опубликовано: 31.01.2020

The film "Circus" directed by Grigory Alexandrov ends like this: demonstration, people in white robes with shiny faces are marching to the song "My country is wide." This frame a year after the premiere of the film, in 1937, will be literally repeated in the monumental panel of Alexander Deinek "Stachanovites" - except that instead of a black child sitting on the shoulder of one of the demonstrators, a white man will be placed on his shoulder. And then the same composition will be used in the giant canvas "Noble People of the Soviets", written by a team of artists led by Vasily Efanov: this is a collective portrait in which the heroes of the work, polar explorers, pilots, akynes and artists are represented together. This genre of apotheosis - and above all, gives a visual idea of ​​a style that has almost exclusively dominated Soviet art for over two decades. Socialist realism or, as critic Boris Groys called it, "Stalin's style."

Socialist realism became the official term in 1934, after Gorky used this expression at the First Congress of Soviet Writers (previously they were sporadically used). Then he joined the Writers' Union, but he was explained inaudibly and soberly: about the ideological education of man in the spirit of socialism, about the presentation of reality in its revolutionary development. This vector - the pursuit of the future, revolutionary development - can somehow be applied to literature, because literature is a temporary art, it has a story sequence and the evolution of the characters is possible. And how to apply it to visual arts is not clear. Nevertheless, the term covered the entire spectrum of culture and became mandatory in everything.

From Deineka to the painting Again Two: what painting style Stalin created

The main client, addressee and consumer of the art of socialist realism was the state. He considered culture as a means of agitation and propaganda. In this regard, the canon of socialist realism obliged the Soviet artist and writer to present exactly what the state wants to see. This concerned not only the subject, but also the form and image method. Of course, there could not be a direct order, the artists acted as if on the call of the heart, but the host organ was over them and it was he who decided, for example, whether the painting was exhibited and whether the author deserved encouragement or on the contrary. Such a strong division in terms of orders, orders and other ways to encourage creative activity. Critics often played the role of this host. Despite the fact that there were no normative poets and codes of principles in the art of socialist realists, criticism was good at catching and giving the highest ideological vibrations. A ton of criticism can mock, destroy and repress. She ruled and upheld the verdict.

The public order system developed in the 1920s, and then the main employed artists were members of AHRR - the Association of Revolutionary Artists of Russia. The need to implement social orders was noted in their declaration, and the clients were state bodies: the Revolutionary Military Council, the Red Army and so on. But then this non-standard art existed in a diverse field, among many completely different initiatives. There were completely different communities - avant-garde and not entirely avant-garde: they all competed for the right to be the main art of our time. The AHRR won in this fight because its aesthetics suited the tastes of the authorities and mass taste. Painting, which simply illustrates and records the plot, is clear to everyone. And of course, that after the forced dissolution of all artistic groups in 1932, it was aesthetics that became the basis of socialist realism - a must.

In socialist realism, the hierarchy of image genres is rigidly built. At the top is the so-called themed image. It's a good story with correctly placed accents. The story is connected with the present - and if not with the present, then with situations from the past that promise us this beautiful gift. As said in the definition of socialist realism: reality in its revolutionary development.

There is often a conflict of power in this picture - but which one is right is clearly demonstrated. For example, in the painting of Boris Johanson "In the old ural factory" the figure of a worker is in the light, and the figure of the exploiter of the factory is immersed in the shadow; in addition, the artist gave him a disgusting look. In his painting "Interrogation of communists" we see only the neck of the white officer conducting the interrogation - the neck is thick and complex.

Thematic images with historical and revolutionary content combined with war and historical images. The historical ones were created mainly after the war, and their genre is close to the apotheosis paintings already described - such operatic aesthetics. For example, in the picture of Alexander Bubnov "Morning on the Kulikovo field," where the Russian army is waiting for the start of the battle with the Tatar-Mongols. Apotheosis arose on conditionally modern material - these are two "Holidays on a farm" in 1937, Sergei Gerasimov and Arkady Plastov: triumphant abundance in the spirit of the later film "Cossacks Cossacks". In general, the art of socialist realism loves abundance - everything should be a lot, because abundance is joy, fullness and fulfillment of aspirations.

In socialist realist landscapes, scale is also important. Very often these are panoramas of the "Russian space" - as it were, a picture of the whole country in a specific landscape. The painting by Fyodor Shurpin "Morning of our homeland" is a vivid example of such a landscape. It is true that the landscape here is only the background for the figure of Stalin, but Stalin is invisibly present in other similar panoramas. And it is important that landscape compositions are oriented horizontally - not directed vertically, not a dynamically active diagonal, but a horizontal static. This world is unchanging, already achieved.

On the other hand, hyperbolized industrial landscapes are very popular - for example, giant construction sites. Homeland builds Magnitogorsk, Dneproges, plants, factories, power plants and so on. Gigantism, pathos of quantity - this is also a very important feature of socialist realism. It is not formulated directly, but manifests itself not only at the level of the topic, but also in the way of drawing everything: the delicate fabric is noticeably heavier and denser.

By the way, the former "diamond jack", for example Lentulow, is successful in painting industrial giants. The materiality associated with their painting turned out to be very useful in the new situation.

From Deineka to the painting Again Two: what painting style Stalin created

And in portraits this material pressure is very noticeable, especially in women. Not only at the level of the picturesque texture, but even in the surroundings. Such a heaviness of the fabric - velvet, plush, fur and everything seems slightly wasted, with an antique accent. This is, for example, in the portrait of the actress Johanson Zerkalova; Ilya Mashkov has such portraits - quite a limousine.

But in general, portraits are almost in an educational spirit as a way of worshiping outstanding people who, thanks to their work, deserved the right to portray. Sometimes these works are presented directly in the text of the portrait: here the scientist Pavlov thinks intensively in his laboratory against the background of biostation, here the surgeon Yudin performs the operation, here the sculptor Vera Mukhina sculpts the Borea figurine. They are all portraits created by Mikhail Niestierow. In the 1880s, he was the creator of his own genre of monastic idylls, then he remained silent for a long time, and in the 1930s he suddenly became the main Soviet portraitist. And the teacher Pavel Korin, whose portraits of Gorky, actor Leonidov or Marshal Zhukov in the monumental system already resemble monuments.

Monumentality even extends to still lifes. They call them, for example, the same Mashkov, epic - "Moscow food" or "Soviet bread." The former "diamond nests" are generally the first in terms of wealth. For example, in 1941, Piotr Konczałowski painted the picture "Alexei Tolstoy visiting the artist" - and before the writer ham, slices of red fish, baked bird, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, glasses for various drinks ... But the tendency to monumentalisation is common. Everything heavy and solid is welcome. In Deineka, the sports bodies of his heroes gain weight, gain weight. Alexander Samokhvalov in the Metrostroyevka series and other masters from the former association "Circle of Artists" have the motif of "great figure" - such female deities, personifying the earthly power and power of creation. And the image itself becomes heavy, dense. But fat - in moderation.

Because moderation is also an important sign of style. On one hand, there should be a noticeable brush stroke - a sign that the artist was working. If the texture is smoothed, the author's work will not be visible - but it should be visible. And, let's say, the same Deineka that previously worked with uniform color planes, now the surface of the image is more visible. On the other hand, unnecessary majesty is not encouraged - it is immodest, it is an exhibition of itself. The word "performance" sounds very dangerous in the 1930s, when the campaign against formalism is taking place - in painting, in a children's book, in music and generally everywhere. It's a kind of fight against the wrong influences, but in fact it's a fight at all in any way with all the tricks. Indeed, this technique calls into question the artist's sincerity, and honesty is an absolute connection with the subject of the picture. Honesty does not mean any mediation, but reception, influence - this is mediation.

However, there are different methods for different tasks. For example, for lyrical texts, some colorless, "rainy" impressionism is appropriate. It manifested itself not only in the species of Yuri Pimenov - in the picture "New Moscow", in which the girl drives an open car in the center of the capital, transformed by new construction sites, or in the late "new neighborhoods" - a series about the construction of suburban neighborhoods. But let's also say on the large canvas of Alexander Gerasimov: "Joseph Stalin and Clement Voroshilov in the Kremlin" (popular name - "Two leaders after the rain"). The atmosphere of rain means human warmth, openness to yourself. Of course, such an impressionistic language can not be reflected in parades and ceremonies - everything is still exceptionally strict, academic.

It has already been said that socialist realism has a futuristic vector - striving for the future, the result of revolutionary development. And because the victory of socialism is inevitable, signs of a future accomplishment are present in the present. It turns out that in socialist realism time breaks down. The present is a future for which there will be no future. History has reached the highest peak and stopped. Deinekowski Stachanites in white robes are no longer human - they are heavenly. And they don't even look at us, but somewhere in eternity - which is already here with us.

Somewhere in the years 1936–1938 gets its final appearance. Here the highest point of socialist realism - and Stalin becomes an indispensable hero. His appearance in the paintings of Efanov, Svarog or anyone else looks like a miracle - and this is the biblical theme of a miracle phenomenon, traditionally associated with completely different characters, of course. But that's how genre memory works. At the moment, socialist realism really is becoming a great style, a style of totalitarian utopia - only this utopia has come true. And when this utopia comes true, the style freezes - a monumental academy.

Any other art based on a different understanding of artistic values ​​turns out to be forgotten, "under cabinet" art, invisible. Of course, the artists had bays in which one could exist, in which cultural skills were preserved and restored. For example, in 1935, the Academy of Architecture created a workshop for monumental painting, which is run by artists from old studios - Vladimir Favorsky, Lev Bruni, Konstantin Istomin, Sergey Romanovich, Nikolai Chernyshev. But all such oases do not last long.

From Deineka to the painting Again Two: what painting style Stalin created

Here is the paradox. Totalitarian art in its verbal declarations refers specifically to man - the words "man" and "humanity" are present in all manifestos of socialist realism of this era. But in fact socialist realism partly continues this messianic pathos of the avant-garde with its mythological pathetics, with apology for the result, with a desire to remake the whole world - and there is no place for the individual among such pathos. And "calm" painters who do not write declarations, but in fact stand up for the individual, a small man, are doomed to invisible existence. And it is in this art "under the office" that humanity is still alive.

The late socialist realism of the 1950s will try to appropriate it. Stalin - a cementing figure of style - is now dead; his former subordinates are lost - in short, the era is over. And in the 1950s and 1960s, socialist realism wants to be socialist realism with a human face. A little earlier, there were some premonitions - for example, paintings of rural Arkady Plastow, especially his painting "Flew fascist" about a senselessly killed shepherd.

But the most indicative are the paintings of Fyodor Reshetnikov "Arrived for Christmas", in which young Suvorovita near the New Year tree greets his grandfather, and "Deuce Again" - about a neglected student (by the way, on the wall of the room in the picture "Deuce Again" is reproduction of the painting "Arrived" for the holidays "is a very touching detail.) It is still socialist realism, it is an understandable and detailed story - but the thought of the state, which was the basis of all previous stories, transforms into family thought, and intonation changes. Socialist realism is becoming more and more intimate, now it concerns the lives of ordinary people. This also includes late Pimenov species, including the work of Alexander Laktionov. His most famous painting, "Letter from the Front", which was sold on many postcards, is one of the main Soviet paintings. Here, building, didactics and sentimentality are such a socialist philistine style.

weight gain. Alexander Samokhvalov in the Metrostroyevka series and other masters from the former association "Circle of Artists" have the motif of "great figure" - such female deities, personifying the earthly power and power of creation. And the image itself becomes heavy, dense. But fat - in moderation.

Because moderation is also an important sign of style. On one hand, there should be a noticeable brush stroke - a sign that the artist was working. If the texture is smoothed, the author's work will not be visible - but it should be visible. And, let's say, the same Deineka that previously worked with uniform color planes, now the surface of the image is more visible. On the other hand, unnecessary majesty is not encouraged - it is immodest, it is an exhibition of itself. The word "performance" sounds very dangerous in the 1930s, when the campaign against formalism is taking place - in painting, in a children's book, in music and generally everywhere. It's a kind of fight against the wrong influences, but in fact it's a fight at all in any way with all the tricks. Indeed, this technique calls into question the artist's sincerity, and honesty is an absolute connection with the subject of the picture. Honesty does not mean any mediation, but reception, influence - this is mediation.

However, there are different methods for different tasks. For example, for lyrical texts, some colorless, "rainy" impressionism is appropriate. It manifested itself not only in the species of Yuri Pimenov - in the picture "New Moscow", in which the girl drives an open car in the center of the capital, transformed by new construction sites, or in the late "new neighborhoods" - a series about the construction of suburban neighborhoods. But let's also say on the large canvas of Alexander Gerasimov: "Joseph Stalin and Clement Voroshilov in the Kremlin" (popular name - "Two leaders after the rain"). The atmosphere of rain means human warmth, openness to yourself. Of course, such an impressionistic language can not be reflected in parades and ceremonies - everything is still exceptionally strict, academic.

It has already been said that socialist realism has a futuristic vector - striving for the future, the result of revolutionary development. And because the victory of socialism is inevitable, signs of a future accomplishment are present in the present. It turns out that in socialist realism time breaks down. The present is a future for which there will be no future. History has reached the highest peak and stopped. Deinekowski Stachanites in white robes are no longer human - they are heavenly. And they don't even look at us, but somewhere in eternity - which is already here with us.

From Deineka to the painting Again Two: what painting style Stalin created

Somewhere in the years 1936–1938 gets its final appearance. Here the highest point of socialist realism - and Stalin becomes an indispensable hero. His appearance in the paintings of Efanov, Svarog or anyone else looks like a miracle - and this is the biblical theme of a miracle phenomenon, traditionally associated with completely different characters, of course. But that's how genre memory works. At the moment, socialist realism really is becoming a great style, a style of totalitarian utopia - only this utopia has come true. And when this utopia comes true, the style freezes - a monumental academy.

Any other art based on a different understanding of artistic values ​​turns out to be forgotten, "under cabinet" art, invisible. Of course, the artists had bays in which one could exist, in which cultural skills were preserved and restored. For example, in 1935, the Academy of Architecture created a workshop for monumental painting, which is run by artists from old studios - Vladimir Favorsky, Lev Bruni, Konstantin Istomin, Sergey Romanovich, Nikolai Chernyshev. But all such oases do not last long.

Here is the paradox. Totalitarian art in its verbal declarations refers specifically to man - the words "man" and "humanity" are present in all manifestos of socialist realism of this era. But in fact socialist realism partly continues this messianic pathos of the avant-garde with its mythological pathetics, with apology for the result, with a desire to remake the whole world - and there is no place for the individual among such pathos. And "calm" painters who do not write declarations, but in fact stand up for the individual, a small man, are doomed to invisible existence. And it is in this art "under the office" that humanity is still alive.

The late socialist realism of the 1950s will try to appropriate it. Stalin - a cementing figure of style - is now dead; his former subordinates are lost - in short, the era is over. And in the 1950s and 1960s, socialist realism wants to be socialist realism with a human face. A little earlier, there were some premonitions - for example, paintings of rural Arkady Plastow, especially his painting "Flew fascist" about a senselessly killed shepherd.

But the most indicative are the paintings of Fyodor Reshetnikov "Arrived for Christmas", in which young Suvorovita near the New Year tree greets his grandfather, and "Deuce Again" - about a neglected student (by the way, on the wall of the room in the picture "Deuce Again" is reproduction of the painting "Arrived" for the holidays "is a very touching detail.) It is still socialist realism, it is an understandable and detailed story - but the thought of the state, which was the basis of all previous stories, transforms into family thought, and intonation changes. Socialist realism is becoming more and more intimate, now it concerns the lives of ordinary people. This also includes late Pimenov species, including the work of Alexander Laktionov. His most famous painting, "Letter from the Front", which was sold on many postcards, is one of the main Soviet paintings. Here, building, didactics and sentimentality are such a socialist philistine style.

From Deineka to the painting Again Two: what painting style Stalin created

And this is the swan song of socialist realism. As a great style, it survives until the end of the Soviet Union - and even survives, but it will not be life, but existence. In the 1960s, totalitarian utopia will be replaced by new styles and new artists, underground artists, who will partly rethink what art is.

You can touch the era of socialist realism here https://www.etsy.com/shop/SocrealizmComUa

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