Socialist realism

The official artistic style of the former Soviet Union when it comes to most artistic expression. It gained its dominant position in 1932, when the communist party took over both patronage and control of the arts. It was relinquished from Proletcult 10 years earlier (also spelled Proletkult with a ‘k’).

Socialist Realism developed its own very peculiar style of happy labourers, slaving away to achieve great things in unison for the soviet union. The art and graphic design melted together in a strong and stylised form, which we might admire for its boldness and compositional strength, but dislike for its obvious undercurrent of state propaganda. Socialist realism clearly focuses on the heroic devotion to the state in painting and sculpture, indeed it puts all arts into the service of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.

Socialist Realism was not only harmful in political sense, it also excluded any form of experimental or abstract art which did not fit into its mold. To contextualise Socialist Realism See also ‘constructivism‘ which flourished, and suprematism which did not. For an idea of an anti-dote that was allowed to exist later on, please see Sots Art.