Dates: 1932-1985

Origin: Russia

Key Artists: Boris Ieremeevich Vladimirski

The art produced in accord with the propagandist purposes of the Soviet Communist dictatorship from 1932. It was proclaimed the officially approved artistic idiom in 1934 at the First All-Union Congress, but no clear stylistic guidelines were given. Rather it was defined negatively, in opposition to the ‘formalism’ and ‘intuitivism’ of contemporary movements. These influences were defined as foreign and alien to Marxist theory, particularly during the patriotic aftermath of the Second World War. Typical subjects included large-scale factories, the new collectivist farms, and heroic representations of Stalin as found in The Morning of our Motherland by Fyodor Shurpin (1948; Moscow, Tretyakov Gal.). Such paintings were often on a monumental scale, with easily identifiable figures painted in a superficially naturalistic mode. Idealized depiction was intended to convey to the proletariat the idea that the Soviet dictatorship had succeeded in extinguishing all societal evils. This form of cultural control diminished in Russia after Stalin’s death in 1953 but resemblances were later to be found under similar regimes in South-East Asia.

Thomas, Michelle. “Socialist Realism.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <;

Boris Ieremeevich Vladimirski


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