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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fallen Monument Park, Moscow, Russia

 This is a very unusual place.   There are three distinct styles represented.  The first is a  collection of Soviet sculptures is located in the park area immediately north of the exhibition building. These were removed from public squares and buildings around Moscow after the collapse of the Communist regime. Among the Socialist Realism sculptures are also memorials to the victims of the GULAG camps with Stalin featured prominently in front.
The second is The New Tretyakov Gallery, which is devoted to Russian art from the beginning of the 1900s to the present day. A part of the exhibition includes works of Socialist Realism, the Soviet Union’s only officially recognized art style, represented by paintings and, outside the building, sculptures.
Socialist Realism was an art style developed in the Soviet Union. It became the official state art policy for nearly 60 years and the objective was to further the goals of Communism. Artists who did not follow the official policy were pursued and severely punished. Socialist Realism was officially defined by four rules adopted at the Communist Party Congress in 1934:
  • Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them.
  • Typical: scenes of the people’s everyday life.
  • Realistic: in the representational sense.
  • Prospective and revolutionary: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party.
The typical motifs showed happy and muscular farmers and workers at collective farms and factories, heroic portraits of the Communist leaders and romanticized everyday situations. All other kind of art styles, such as Impressionism and Cubism, that were practised in the Soviet countries prior to the revolution, were labeled as “decadent bourgeois art”, counter-revolutionary, unintelligible to the people, degenerative and pessimistic. Socialist realism was openly a part of the systems propaganda. Stalin described the artist as “engineers of souls”.

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