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Socialist Realist Painting During the Stalinist Era (1934-1941): The High Art of Mass Art

Socialist Realist Painting During the Stalinist Era (1934-1941): The High Art of Mass Art (Hardback)

£94.95
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Synopsis

This book argues that Socialist Realist paintings, typically seen by western art historians as examples of retrograde art and by scholars of Soviet history simply as propaganda, were a part of an extensive program of skillful artistic practice coupled with masterful propaganda. Socialist Realist painting generally has been seen as mass art - in other words, not considered to be of the caliber of high art such as traditional oil painting. Yet, painting was indeed a form of mass art and, at the same time, qualifies as being considered high art. Socialist Realist painting was neither one thing exclusively nor the other, but will be explored as having developed as a continual and constant interplay among three complimentary threads: representations of the future and the present; legitimate art and adroit propaganda; and, a configuration of both mass art and high art. Did Socialist Realist paintings present the storied future or the contemporary milieu? How, and in what way, did these paintings depict a here-and-now reality and, at the same time, propagate the mythic elements of future Soviet achievements?

What enabled Socialist Realist paintings to be fine art and concurrently function as tools of propaganda? How did Socialist Realism operate as both high art and mass art? These are the main questions answered in this monograph through relevant images of collectivization, one of the two major branches of Stalin's five-year plans.

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