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Sergey Kuznetsov

[Azgar, Zair Isaakovich]

(b Maǔǔany, Viciebsk [Vitebsk] region, Jan 15, 1908).

Belarusian sculptor . He studied in Belarus’ under Yury Pen and M. Kerzin during the early 1920s and then learnt from contemporaries such as Matvey Manizer as well as from the Hermitage collection in St Petersburg. In 1929, after visiting Ukraine and Georgia, he returned to Belarus’ and was commissioned to decorate the art museum, the opera house and the government building in Minsk. These Socialist Realist projects were made of non-durable plaster and have not survived. During World War II he sculpted a series of Neo-classical monuments to heroes of the war. In 1948–51 he created a series of sculptures of women collective farmworkers, for example Ye. P. Lesnichaya (bronze, 1949; Minsk, Belarus’ A. Mus.), that portray the idealized citizen of the USSR towering above her surroundings and reforming the world. Emulating Russian Neo-classical sculptors, he executed monuments to Pyotr Bagration and Mikhail Barclay de Tolly (bronze and granite, 1946–9...


V. Rakitin


(b Sofiyevka, nr Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, Jan 6, 1884; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Aug 14, 1939).

Russian painter, graphic artist and collector, of Ukrainian birth. He studied at the School of Art in Odessa (1896–1902) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921) and at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg (1902–8) under Il’ya Repin, who remained an important influence throughout his life. During the revolutionary years 1905 to 1907 Brodsky became famous as a political caricaturist and for his painting Red Funeral: The Funeral of the Victims of the Armed Attack on the Peaceful Demonstration in St Petersburg on 9 Jan 1905 (1906; St Petersburg, Acad. A., Mus.). From 1909 to 1911 he worked in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Austria on a scholarship from the Academy. Brodsky’s landscapes and portraits of the period are generally traditional and academic in style.

In 1917 Brodsky drew a series of portraits of the members of the Provisional Government and in 1919 received first prize in the ‘Great Russian Revolution’ competition for his painting ...


Bélgica Rodríguez

revised by Iliana Cepero

(b Caracas, Aug 17, 1923).

Venezuelan kinetic artist and photographer. He studied in 1940 and 1941 at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas, producing paintings in the style of Social Realism while working as art director to the McCann Erickson advertising agency in Venezuela, where he became interested in the effect of color in advertising. In 1955–1956 he visited Paris and Barcelona, where theories of geometric abstraction, scientific color theory, and Bauhaus ideas on the integration of the arts and crafts caught his interest. On returning to Caracas he opened the Estudio de Artes Visuales, where he began to investigate the role of color in kinetic art. Cruz-Diez gained wide experience in advertising, industrial applications of color, cinema, and photographic and photo-mechanical processes, and studied the work of Georges Seurat, Josef Albers, and Edwin H. Land’s scientific ideas on color perception. These inspirations led him to research the phenomenological and psychological effects of color on the viewer, and most importantly, the shifting condition of the chromatic experience as it takes place in real time. Attempting to free color from its symbolic, esoteric, or cultural implications throughout history, Cruz-Diez transformed the plane into a succession of color parallels that he placed vertically across the surface of the work, allowing the viewer to look at the piece from different angles. This experiment gave birth to ...


David Elliott


(b Kursk, May 21, 1899; d Moscow, June 5, 1969).

Russian painter, graphic artist and designer. He studied at the Khar’kov Art School (1915–17), breaking off his studies to join the Red Army. By 1919 he had returned to Kursk, where he was designing the stencilled propaganda ROSTA posters that spread throughout the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic following Mayakovsky’s original examples (see Agitprop). In 1921 he moved to Moscow and studied under Vladimir Favorsky at Vkhutemas (the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops) until 1925. While still a student he worked on illustrations and designs for a number of new magazines such as Bezbozhnik (‘The Atheist’) or Prozhektor (‘Searchlight’).

In the mid-1920s Deyneka started to make easel paintings and became a leading member of the Society of Easel Painters (OST), which reflected advanced tendencies in representational painting rather than the literalism of the Wanderers. His major paintings of the period are The Defence of Petrograd (...


Andon Kuqali

(b Gjirokastër, Nov 10, 1936).

Albanian sculptor. He studied at the Jordan Misja Arts Lyceum in Tiranë (1952–6), the Academy of Arts, Leningrad (now St Petersburg; 1957–61) and the Higher Institute of Art in Tiranë (1962), where he later taught monumental sculpture. He became established as a Socialist Realist artist with his earliest works, for example Keep the Revolutionary Spirit Strong (bronze, 3.1 m, 1966; Tiranë). Attempting to create dynamic works, Dhrami introduced new means of plastic expression into Albanian sculpture, combining fractured surfaces with soft and gentle forms conveying a sense of optimism. His work became more lyrical, for example the bust of the popular hero Liri Gero (bronze, 1974; Tiranë, A.G.). He produced monumental sculptures for architectural contexts, for example the sculptural group Drashovicë 1920–1943 (bronze, 1980; Vlorë). Dhrami also wrote critical articles on art.

‘Jeta e zjarreve partizane’ [Life in partisan fires], Drita (2 Oct 1983), p. 5...


(Paris 1937)

International exhibition held in Paris from May to November 1937. It was memorable for the naked politics of competing national pavilions at the time of mounting international tensions. In turn, it introduced viewers to new art forms including Picasso’s Guernica (1937; Madrid, Prado), the prominent use of photomurals, and the modern paradigm of ‘transmediality’.

The hulking Soviet and Nazi pavilions squared off on either side of the Eiffel Tower (itself a remnant of a past fair) on the Champs de Mars, casting the other 43 national pavilions and the cluster of French regional pavilions into shadow. Critics noted the overpowering nature of the German pavilion—a stark, streamlined Doric box surmounted by a massive square tower, designed by Adolf Hitler’s favourite architect, Albert Speer (see fig.)—and the equally aggressive Soviet pavilion with its stepped profile, designed by Boris Iofan. Observers may have hoped that a pacifist France, symbolized by the long curved arms of the brand new and yet elegantly neo-classical Trocadéro complex (by ...


Ewa Mikina

(b Warsaw, Nov 15, 1922).

Polish painter and poster designer. He studied at the private studios of Tadeusz Pruszkowski (1888–1942) and Felicjan Kowarski in Warsaw between 1940 and 1942. From 1966 he lived in the USA. In 1949 Fangor exhibited his early portraits of Lenin and Einstein, among others. They were garish in colour and intentionally primitivist and brutalist in form. The Socialist Realist works from between 1950 and 1955 (e.g. Bricklayers, 1950, and Korean Mother, 1951) are monumental academic, programmatic paintings of a propagandist, poster-style character, occasionally featuring ambiguity and irony, as in Figures (1950). Fangor gained popularity as a poster designer, and when Socialist Realism went into decline he switched from programmatic simplifications to experimental simplicity (e.g. the street decorations for the 5th International Festival of Youth, Warsaw, 1955).

Fangor achieved fame in 1958 with the Warsaw exhibition Studium Przestrzeni (‘Study of Space’), in which he presented an environment operating on the principle of the after-image. He produced spatially interdependent abstract canvases and explored a temporal sequence of colour perception. This was further developed in the ...


Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, Dec 25, 1898; d Prague, Jan 3, 1967).

Czech architect and teacher. He graduated in architecture (1922) from the Technical University, Prague. With his fellow students Vít Obrtel (1901–88), Evžen Linhart and Karel Honzík he formed the Four Purists, who sought to simplify architectural form as much as possible to geometric volumes. In 1923 he became a member of Devětsil, the avant-garde group centred on the figure of Karel Teige; he also joined the Architects’ Club. Fragner’s first independent work was the post-natal unit (1923–8) at Mukačevo, Ukraine, one of the first buildings in which Functionalist principles were applied. In 1927 he designed a garden city housing scheme (unexecuted) for Barrandov, Prague, with several types of suburban houses, based on the optimization of local features. These ideas were reflected in a number of other houses, for example in Kostelec nad Černými Lesy (1931–2) and Nespeky (1932–3), which also used various materials such as bare brickwork and natural stone to achieve harmony with the site. Between ...


V. Rakitin


(b Kozlov [now Michurinsk, Tambov region], Aug 12, 1881; d Moscow, July 23, 1963).

Russian painter, stage designer and administrator. He studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow (1903–15) under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolay Kasatkin and Korovin, Konstantin (Alekseyevich), among others. At the School he emerged as a leader of a group of traditionalists who contended with the avant-garde led by Mikhail Larionov. After service in the army he returned to Kozlov, where he worked as a stage designer and decorated the town for revolutionary festivities. In 1925 he moved to Moscow, where he was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. The style Gerasimov was using by the mid-1920s in his landscapes and portraits, which was a combination of academic realism and Impressionism, remained practically unchanged throughout his life.

Gerasimov’s work is significant as representative of a solemn ‘heroic realism’ (e.g. Lenin on the Tribune, 1929–30; Moscow, Cent. Lenin Mus.), later considered a paradigm of Socialist Realism. He painted a series of pompous official portraits of Soviet leaders (e.g. ...


Catherine Cooke


(b Minsk, May 23, 1892; d Moscow, Jan 7, 1946).

Belarusian architect, urban planner, theorist and teacher. His age and background prepared him ideally for a central position among the architects who led the Modernist avant-garde in the USSR in the 1920s. He is best known for his leadership, with Aleksandr Vesnin, of the Constructivist architectural group from 1925 to 1931, but he was a consistently influential figure in Soviet architecture from the early 1920s until his premature death after World War II. Ginzburg insisted on constant re-evaluation and innovation in three key dimensions: architecture must tackle new social tasks; it must create new ‘spatial organisms’ to facilitate, reflect and catalyze those tasks; and it must harness the new technologies of mass production and the new building materials to achieve fulfilment of those tasks. A new ‘style’ would be the aesthetic correlate and result of these innovations.

The son of an architect in Minsk, with limited access as a Jew to higher education in Russia, Ginzburg attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Ecole d’Architecture in Toulouse before joining the studio of ...


Sergey Kuznetsov

[Gorky, Maxim; Peshkov, Aleksey (Maksimovich)]

(b Nizhny Novgorod, March 28, 1868; d Moscow, June 18, 1936).

Russian writer and critic. Early in his career he worked as an art critic for the Nizhegorodskiy Listok and published several articles (May–Sept, 1896) on the All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. His aesthetic principles were very significantly influenced by the ‘philosophy of life’ of Friedrich Nietzsche, but on the other hand he borrowed heavily from the ‘revolutionary democratic aesthetics’ proposed by V. G. Belinsky, N. A. Dobroliubov and N. G. Chernyshevsky. He regarded as great art academic-style paintings that were intelligible to the people, and he opposed the ‘decadent’ and ‘antisocial’, which he saw in much new art, not least the work of Mikhail Vrubel’. Gor’ky’s interest in politics was evident in both his writing (e.g. the novel Mat’ [‘Mother’], 1906) and his fund-raising for the Bolsheviks. However, in his defence of artistic monuments (Revolution and Culture, 1918), he protested that the recent revolution was anti-cultural and in an attempt to oppose the destruction of Russian culture he founded the Culture and Freedom Society, which published a bulletin and collection of articles emphasizing the ideas that the material (outer) culture directly affects the spiritual (inner) one; that culture is non-party; and that the cultural heritage must be preserved. As a realist and a friend of Il’ya Repin he came into conflict not only with formalist critics such as Victor Shklovsky but also those Symbolists, Futurists and other avant-garde artists who felt that the revolution should build a distinctly Soviet culture using new artistic methods and approaches. From ...


Sulejman Dashi

(b Palavli, Sarandë, March 28, 1930).

Albanian sculptor. He studied sculpture at the Jordan Misja Arts Lyceum in Tiranë (1946–50) and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad (now St Petersburg; 1953–8). He later taught monumental sculpture at the Higher Institute of Art in Tiranë. Hadëri quickly established himself as a Socialist Realist sculptor specializing in dramatic and narrative figure compositions, for example Friends (cement, 1958; Tiranë, A.G.). Inspired mainly by the events of World War II, he aimed at symbolic representations of the heroism of the partisans, as in the monument to the Heroes of Vig (bronze, 4.90 m, 1984; Shkodër). Characteristic of Hadëri’s figure sculpture is the emphasis on movement and gesture, and the deformation of detail in order to increase psychological tension. When treating individual historical figures, such as Isa Boletini (bronze, 4.8 m, 1986; Shkodër), Hadëri modelled the subject more naturalistically. He collaborated with Kristaq Rama and Muntaz Dhrami on numerous monumental sculptures erected in several cities in Albania....


Christina Lodder


(b Moscow, July 25, 1893; d Moscow, Feb 25, 1973).

Russian painter. He was trained in the 19th-century Realist tradition of the Wanderers and became one of the most important artists in establishing Socialist Realism as the official art of the USSR. He studied with Pyotr Kelin in 1912 and at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1913–18) under Nikolay Kasatkin (1859–1930), Abram Arkhipov and Konstantin Korovin. He then served in the Red Army and worked as a stage designer in the province of Kherson from 1919 to 1922. In 1922 he participated in the 47th Wanderers’ exhibition in Moscow and became one of the members of AKhRR (the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia), promoting Realism and attacking the abstract experiments of the avant-garde. Ioganson argued that ‘the Russian painter is an innovator…not an innovator of form divorced from content, but a true innovator, reflecting the new tendencies of reality’.

Ioganson produced highly detailed canvases depicting the new industrial enterprises associated with the building of Socialism, for example the ...


Anna Bentkowska

(b Olesko, nr Lwów [now L’viv, Ukraine], Sept 12, 1920; d Warsaw, Sept 25, 1972).

Polish painter, theatre designer and architect. He began his artistic education by taking lessons in sculpture and painting; he then trained as an architect at the Polytechnics of Lwów (1939–41) and Gdańsk (1945–6). He briefly studied painting as a student of Eugeniusz Eibisch in Kraków (1945). Constantly searching for new forms of expression, he explored various disciplines and techniques and, throughout his career, moved from one style to another. His first paintings were influenced by Eibisch’s colourism. In this post-war period he also worked on various architectural, sculptural and theatrical designs, such as the statue of the poet Adam Mickiewicz (1947; unexecuted) and the pavilion for the Agricultural Exhibition, Czȩstochowa (1949). He soon followed the newly imposed style of Socialist Realism, becoming one of its leading figures with works such as Pass Me a Brick (1950; Wrocław, N. Mus.). Unhindered by ideological restrictions, his series of sketches from Vietnam (...


John E. Bowlt


(b Karakovichi, Smolensk province, June 28, 1874; d Moscow, Oct 9, 1971).

Russian sculptor. From 1892 to 1896 he attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied under Sergey Volnukhin (1859–1921), and from 1899 to 1902 he attended the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying under Vladimir Beklemishev (1861–1920). He moved quickly from the academic lessons of these teachers, reflected in such pieces as The Stone-breaker (bronze, 1898; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), to a more lyrical concept in the early 1900s: travelling frequently in Western Europe, he studied the sculpture of Bourdelle, Rodin and Gauguin and produced a number of works that bear their influence such as Nike (marble, 1906) and Lada (marble, 1909) (both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). In the 1900s Konyonkov also became increasingly interested in Russian legend and mythology, producing interpretations of such folklore figures as the Bogatyr Kuz’ma Sirafontov (plaster, 1913; Serpukhov, A. Mus.). Because of its malleability and expressive potential, wood became his preferred medium....


Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, June 5, 1893; d Brno, June 7, 1974).

Czech architect, theorist, graphic artist, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied with Jan Koula (1855–1919), Josef Fanta and Antonín Balšánek (1865–1921). While still studying he became a member of the Mánes Union of Artists. During the period 1921 to 1928 he practised in Mladá Boleslav and in 1925 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Technical University in Brno. At the same time he was a founder-member of Socialistická scéna (Socialist Stage), for which he worked as stage manager, set designer and graphic artist. Kroha’s early work was based on a distinctive conception of Cubism, as in the Crematorium in Pardubice (1919), and Expressionism, as in the Catholic church, Prague-Vinohrady (1918–19), which he formulated in a series of extremely varied competition designs for buildings that were full of tension and explosiveness. His works at Mladá Boleslav, especially the State Technical College (...


Christina Lodder

(b Moscow, 1932).

Russian printmaker and sculptor, active in England. He trained at the Moscow State Art Studios in 1942–7 and at the Moscow Art School (1950–51) in the atmosphere of Socialist Realism. After his national service (1953–6) he studied at the Moscow Animated Film Studios (1956–8). He subsequently joined the Moscow Union of Soviet Artists, exhibiting his work with this organization from 1958 to 1972. During the 1960s he created objects from paper and tin, using paint to enhance the expressive qualities of the forms produced. From 1967 he specialized in drypoint, producing images based on the topography and everyday life of Moscow. In 1974 Kudryashov emigrated from the Soviet Union and settled in London. His work, always inspired by the urban environment, now reflected the buildings, bridges and the demolition he observed around him. The abstract language of bold rectangles and circles, energetically inscribed directly on to the zinc plate, characteristic of later prints such as ...


John E. Bowlt


(b Borisoglebsk, Voronezh province, March 10, 1880; d Moscow, March 18, 1960).

Russian painter. After studying at various private art schools, including those of Lev Dmitriyev-Kavkazsky (1849–1916) in St Petersburg and Konstantin Yuon in Moscow, he enrolled in 1906 at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where his principal teacher was Konstantin Korovin. Kuprin quickly became acquainted with contemporary developments in painting, thanks especially to his exposure to the collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works owned by Ivan Morosov and Sergey Shchukin and also the international exhibitions organized by the journal Zolotoye Runo (Golden Fleece). The early works of Derain and Picasso were of particular importance to Kuprin at that time.

Kuprin was close to Robert Fal’k, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Aristarkh Lentulov, Il’ya Mashkov and Vasily Rozhdestvensky, and he joined the Jack of Diamonds group in 1910, thereby forming a temporary allegiance with its avant-garde leaders Natal’ya Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. At this point Kuprin sympathized with their concentration on primitive, indigenous art forms, and his paintings of the following decade, such as ...


M. N. Sokolov


(b Rostov-on-Don, May 29, 1910; d Moscow, March 15, 1972).

Russian painter. He studied at the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1932–8) under Isaak Brodsky, and his style developed under the influence of Brodsky and of 17th-century Baroque painting with its illusory effects. He was an expert on old painting techniques, and he became one of the best-known representatives of the retrospective trend in Socialist Realism, combining modern subjects with detailed rendering of the texture of objects in the spirit of the Old Masters.

Many of Laktionov’s works have a propagandist veneer, for example Into the New Flat (1952; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), in which the central detail is a portrait of Stalin as the creator of happy changes in the life of the family receiving the new flat. Other works are extremely pompous, even kitschy, with an overworked, superficial attractiveness, as in Secure Old Age (1958–60; Kiev, Mus. Rus. & Sov. A. & Prod. Complex), a group portrait of veterans of Soviet theatre. In his most successful works, however, he achieved an impressive lyricism, as in ...


(b Moscow, Sept 22, 1859; d Moscow, Dec 6, 1937).

Russian painter and designer. He attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1881–90, studying under Vladimir Makovsky, Vasily Polenov and Illarion Pryanishnikov, and joined the Wanderers (Peredvizhniki) in 1891. At first Malyutin supported the traditions of narrative Realism, as is clear from paintings such as Peasant Girl (1890; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), although he quickly developed other interests in the popular arts and crafts, in history painting and in plein-air painting.

Like other Russian artists of his time such as Ivan Bilibin, Nicholas Roerich, the Vasnetsov brothers and Mikhail Vrubel’, Malyutin turned for inspiration to Russian folklore, ancient history and the domestic arts, as in his panoramic Battle of Kulikovo for the Historical Museum in Moscow (1898) and in his invention in 1889 of the matryoshka (Russian stacking doll), which, misleadingly, has now been accepted as an integral part of traditional Russian folk art. In the 1890s he worked at the ...