Get Real: Why Socialist Realist Painting Deserves Another Look

Published: January 6, 2015

But this moment lasted almost as long as the Soviet Union and for anybody who wants to explore this system it has to be carefully studied. Socialist realism was a traditionalist, representational from of art, famously “national in form, socialist in content” and concerned primarily with literature and only later with painting, sculpture and architecture. Although it was never articulated as such, this nationalist form drew mostly upon classical and various neo-classical art styles such as Renaissance. Despite claims to “realism”, it was never really realistic, depicting communist reality not as it was but as it should be. There was no space for any critique. Yet it would be a mistake to only identify sots-realism with the troubling idealised images of heroic leaders, battles or peasants.

Read the full article at Calvert Journal

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs

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