qatsi: (sewell)
[personal profile] qatsi
Due to several busy weekends in March, I'd left it a bit late to go to the Royal Academy's Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 exhibition, so I set off early on Saturday morning. Once again GWR demonstrated their failure to match supply with demand, with a train busier than at "peak" times on an average weekday.

It's a large exhibition, marking the centenary of the 1917 revolution and taking as its scope the art of the USSR's first fifteen years (approximately). Mostly the exhibits are paintings, though there are also photographs, films, domestic and commemorative artifacts, and physical reconstructions. There is a political element to many of the works; some, of course, appearing rather kitsch nowadays, and the airbrushing of Trotsky out of early Soviet memorabilia is funny-but-not-funny. I found a number of highlights: Boris Kustodiev's Demonstration On Uritsky Square (note the young Jeremy Corbyn at the bottom right, studiously reading his copy of Pravda), The Bolshevik, and the chocolate-box-esque Carneval; two contrasting portraits of Stalin, by Isaak Brodsky and Georgy Rublev; the technological Globe at the Moscow Telegraphic Central Station and Leonardo-inspired Letatlin; the weird colour palette of Pavel Filonov; in the style of war art, Alexander Deineka's The Defence of Petrograd and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin's After the Battle; but also the timeless Day of Annunciation by Konstantin Yuon and Blue Spring by Vasily Baksheev. The exhibition culminates in a room marking the start of Stalin's cult of personality, with a vase commemorating blimp flights between Moscow and New York, and a model of the Palace of the Soviets.
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