Art & architecture

Celebration or reflection?

Print edition : December 22, 2017

The model of the proposed Tatlin's Tower, the monument to the Third International by Vladimir Tatlin, exhibited in the Studio of Materials, Volume, and Construction (the former Academy of Arts) in Petrograd, 1920. Photo: Sovfoto/UIG Via Getty Images

Anatole Kopp. He pointed out that "in the years that followed the revolution, Soviet architecture was dominated by what was called the modern style". His authoritative book "Town and Revolution: Soviet Architecture and City Planning, 1917–1935", published in 1967, explained how the burst of avant-garde creative work was let loose by the political upheavals. Photo: Getty Images

An image of Savva Ivanovich Mamontov in Abramtsevo found in the collection of the State Museum Abramtsevo Estate, near Moscow. The pre-revolutionary avant-garde painters had been encouraged, in the 1870s, by the railway tycoon, who had an estate where a handful of non-conforming artists regularly met, determined to challenge the hegemony of the Academy of Arts in Petersburg. Photo: Getty Images

A view of the Kremlin in 2014. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Camilla Gray with her husband, Oleg Prokoviev. Her book "The Russian Experiment in Art, 1863–1922" is a deeply researched scholarly work about the avant-garde and the Russian experiment in art. In it she reveals that the avant-garde movement amongst Russian painters began long before the revolution and as early as the 1860s.

Red Square, Moscow. Photo: Marka/UIG via Getty Images

The Shukhov broadcasting tower in Moscow, an April 2014 picture. One of the symbols of Soviet Constructivist architecture, it was built in 1922. The Russian government decided to tear it down because of surface corrosion and a threat of it falling down. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP

Commemorating the October Revolution raises the problem of understanding the relationship between the political revolution and the creative arts.
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