Three Great Musicians of the USSR

The twentieth century was a dynamic period in the history of Russia. In that century, Russia saw the fall of the 300-year Romanov dynasty, the rise and fall of the 70-year reign of the Soviet Union, and the turbulent formation of the Russian Federation. Russia saw revolution, civil war, two war worlds, purges under Joseph […]

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Four Examples of Russian Music in American Popular Culture

Throughout the Cold War to the present day, there has been tension between the United States and Russia in the political arena. However, Americans have used Russian music in creating elements of American popular culture. Appropriated Russian songs include classical pieces like “The Flight of the Bumblebee,” which is often used to represent speed and […]

Saira Keltaeva: Exploring Uzbek and Feminine Identity

Many describe Saira Keltaeva as one of the most unique phenomena emerging from the modern Uzbek art scene in recent decades. Born on May 16th, 1961,  in the village of Kumyshkan, located in the Tashkent region of modern day Uzbekistan, her oil paintings master the use of vibrant color and ethnographic decoration to create portraits […]

Post Soviet Theatre

How did the economic and political disarray that beset Russia in the days and years following Glasnost affect Russian cultural institutions? In Russia, theatre practitioners have long enjoyed a social position comparable to Hollywood actors or professional sports stars in America. By the mid-nineteenth century, amateur, provincial, and serf theaters had sprung up in even […]

Crime and Publishing: How Dostoevskii Changed the British Murder

A few words on this book: Described by the sixteenth-century English poet George Turbervile as “a people passing rude, to vices vile inclin’d,” the Russians waited some three centuries before their subsequent cultural achievements—in music, art and particularly literature—achieved widespread recognition in Britain. The essays in this stimulating collection attest to the scope and variety […]

American Students’ Favorite Russian Art, 2017

We asked three participants of our Art and Museums in Russia program in St. Petersburg: “If you could introduce everyone to 3-5 pieces of Russian art, what would those pieces be?” Here are the students and the essential art works they chose:   Kimberly Gordy Kimberly Gordy is a student at the University of Texas […]

Zinaida Serebriakova: A Painter of the People and Country

“Happiness on canvas” is a phrase that well describes the early works of Zinaida Serebriakova. Best known for her vibrant, joyful style, it’s only natural that the her largest exhibit of the last 30 years, timed at the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death and the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, coincided with spring […]

Petersburg with Pushkin’s Bronze Horseman

I’ve been reading works in which Petersburg is mentioned for the past few weeks in order to prepare for this amazing city. It’s been fantastic reconnecting with my love for Russian literature, but things have been feeling slightly off. Every time I walk somewhere, I am just in so much awe at the beauty of […]

Lysenko, Savitsky, and Preserving the Soviet Avant-Garde

Forty years ago, near the dusty shores of the retreating Aral Sea, Communist Party officials visited the Museum of Igor Savitsky. Savitsky, affectionately called “Junkman” by his friends and associates, was an artist. Under the nose of State officials (and sometimes with their funds), he amassed a collection of over eighty thousand banned Russian avant-garde […]

Old Moscow in Paintings. Part Two.

The only way to peek into Moscow’s past prior to invention of photography is through paintings and works of masters of historical reconstruction. In this article, we will compare the look of old Moscow with how we see it today. Fedor Alekseev’s painting “View of the Resurrection and Nikolsky Gates and the Neglinny Bridge from […]

Isaak Brodsky

Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky (Исаак Израилевич Бродский) was a Soviet painter whose work is especially notable for its role in the formation of the socialist realism art movement and for his works depicting Lenin. His paintings capturing events of the Russian Civil War and the Bolshevik Revolution are also notable. Brodsky was born on January 6, […]

The Leningrad School

The Leningrad School was a prominent school of painting during the majority of the Soviet period, 1930-1990. Emanating from the Ilia Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (named for the famous nineteenth century realist painter and renamed the St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture after the collapse of the USSR), it produced […]

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