The Arts, (cinema, music and visual arts) under Stalin

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THE ARTS, (CINEMA, MUSIC
AND VISUAL ARTS) UNDER
STALIN
By Ximena Aranda
PROLETKULT
 Focus moved away from ‘high art’ to ‘popular culture’
 Proletkult: proletarian cultural movement (Alexander Bogdanov)
 Seemed to be developing as an independent working-class
organization
 Shut down during 1921 and 1922
ARTS UNDER
STALIN
 Stalin rejected Western culture and
its ‘bourgeois principles’
 Artists painted pictures glorifying
Stalin and he dominated many pictures
"To have more,
we must produce
more. To produce
more, we must
know more"
HOW DID THE BOLSHEVIKS
USE ART IN PROPAGANDA?
 Bolsheviks make used of the art to the service of the new
state
 Artists of the ‘avant-garde’ were excited by the revolution
and embraced it
 avant-garde: innovators in the arts
VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY
(1893-1930)
 Egotistical young poet, playwright, and artist who worked with the
Bolsheviks
 Produced posters and 3000 captions or slogans on a wide range of
topics
 Committed suicide in April 1930
 1935 Stalin proclaimed him ‘the best and most gifted poet of our
Soviet epoch”
We’ve finished
off Russia’s
White Guards
The ogre of
world capitalism
is still alive
ROSTA window poster to mark
‘Remember Red Army Barracks
Day’ in 1920
That means we
still need the Red
Army
And that means
we’ve got to help
it out- the task is
clear
Political idea clearly
and simply through
an arrangement of
geometric shapes
SOVIET PROPAGANDA
POSTER BY ARTIST LAZAR
MARKOVICH LISSITZKY
Red wedge symbolizes the
Bolsheviks, who are
penetrating
And defeating their
opponents
CINEMA
Cinemas were almost entirely restricted to the
town
Cinemas was, in theory, the ideal medium of
propaganda, visual, technological, and controllable
All-Union Party Congress on Film Questions
SERGUÉI EISENSTEIN
 Two of his best-known films: Battleship Potemkin
(1925) and October (1928)
 1926 Stalin proposed that Eisenstein should make
a film on the need for collectivisation
 Focused on tractors and a cream separator to
symbolize the transition from primitive farming to
the mechanised modern agriculture
MUSIC
 Avant-garde and jazz were
outlawed
 Shostakovich
SHOSTAKOVICH
 Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934)
 persona non grata
 Fourth Symphony
• Withdrew the work because it could anger the authorities
 Symphony No. 5,
• the work displayed lyricism, a heroic tone and inspiration from Russian
literature.
• The new symphony was a spectacular success, pleasing both the
authorities and the public
• The music is simpler, but no less dramatic
• Stalin found the politics of the music acceptable
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 http://www.pbs.org/keepingscore/shostakovich-symphony-5.html
 http://www.rightspeak.net/2013/09/illinois-4th-graders-taught-
that.html
 Soviet Society in the 1920s and 1930s
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