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A. N. Lavrentiev

(Vladimirovich)

(b Novocherkassk, 1897; d Moscow, 1979).

Russian photographer. In 1925 he enrolled as a trainee film cameraman in Moscow, and from 1926 he worked under Boris Petrovich Podluzsky in the photography section of the State Academy of Artistic Sciences (GAKhN), where he became a virtuoso in applied photography. He was equally successful in highly complex reproduction work and with contemplative still-lifes, such as Milk and Bread (1926). His photos of museum exhibits, architectural details, plants and seeds were published in journals, books and catalogues. In 1931 he initiated a series of lectures on ‘museum photography’ for higher museum studies courses and for post-graduate students at the Central Museum of the Revolution. In the 1930s he produced still-lifes and exhibited frequently at photographic shows. In the 1960s he founded the Moscow Novator photography club, which he ran for 15 years, while continuing to work as a photographer at the Historical Museum.

A. Khlebnikov: ‘Kultura masterstva’ [The culture of craftsmanship], ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

[Alexander] (Mikhaylovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 23, 1891; d Moscow, Dec 3, 1956).

Russian painter, sculptor, designer and photographer. He was a central exponent of Russian Constructivism, owing much to the pre-Revolutionary work of Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, and he was closely involved in the cultural debates and experiments that followed the Revolution of 1917. In 1921 he denounced, on ideological grounds, easel painting and fine art, and he became an exponent of Productivism (see Constructivism, §1) in many fields, including poster design, furniture, photography and film. He resumed painting in his later years. His work was characterized by the systematic way in which from 1916 he sought to reject the conventional roles of self-expression, personal handling of the medium and tasteful or aesthetic predilections. His early nihilism and condemnation of the concept of art make it problematic even to refer to Rodchenko as an artist: in this respect his development was comparable to that of Dada, although it also had roots in the anarchic activities of Russian Futurist groups....