‘From the Southern Mountains to the Northern Seas’: Painting in the Republics in the Early Soviet Period

  • Musya Giants


The 1920s and early 1930s are known as a brilliant, flourishing period in painting throughout the Soviet Union, both in the centre of the country and in remote provinces. An examination of provincial painting of this period provides a new perspective on the development of modern art in Russia. Such an examination reveals a multifaceted character arising from the creative interaction of several cultures: Western European, Russian, and the native cultures themselves. This investigation also reveals that the 1920s and early 1930s were a period of great contradiction because art in the Soviet state was increasingly compelled to support and express Party objectives and ideas. By looking at painting in the republics, we enrich our understanding of the development of Soviet modern painting generally and of the destructive essence and the bitter consequences of Socialist Realism. For the policy of Socialist Realism so stifled these promising developments that everything individual and distinctive was crushed ‘from the southern mountains to the northern seas’.1


Socialist Realism Native Culture Mural Painting Southern Mountain Easel Painting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Evgenii Kovtun, Avangard ostanovlennyi na begu (Leningrad: Aurora, 1989).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Ivan Dziuba, Piatdesiat let spustia’, Druzhba narodov, no. 4 (1989), pp. 213–15.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    V. I. Lenin, Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1966) vol. 29, pp. 336, 582; vol. 31, pp. 286, 317.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    John Bowlt, ‘Art and Architecture in Soviet Russia, 1917–1971’, in An Introduction to Russian Art and Architecture (ed.) Robert Auty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980) p. 146.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    A. Iakimovich, Aktual’nye voprosy istorii sovetskogo izobrazitel’nogo iskusstva’, Iskusstvo, no. 6 (1989) p. 4.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    For an interesting discussion of this artistic cross-fertilization, see N. A. Ezerskaia, Peredvizhniki i natsional’n khudozhestvennye shkoly narodov Rossii (Moscow: Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo, 1987) pp. 6–10, 18–20, 28–29.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    B. Nikiforov, ‘Po masterskim khudozhnikov Belorussi’, Iskusstvo, no. 3 (1934) p. 101.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    L. S. Zinger and M. A. Orlova, Istoria iskusstva narodov SSSR (Moscow: Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo, 1972) vol. 7, p. 225.Google Scholar
  9. 18.
    V. Lebedeva, ‘Shkola freskovoi zhivopisi na Ukraine v pervoe desiatiletie sovetskoi vlasti’, Voprosy sovetskogo izobrazitel’nogo iskusstva i arkhitektury (Moscow: Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1973) pp. 359, 379, 383.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    I. Vrona, ‘Stennie rospisi na Ukraine 1919–1920 gg.’ Iskusstvo, no. 10 (1969) pp 35–36.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Iakov Tugendkhol’d, Iskusstvo Okt’iabrskoii epokhi (Leningrad, 1930), p. 92.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    Iurii Moseshvili, ‘Ia znaiu, chto delaiu’, Ogonek no. 39 (1989) p. 8.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Gaiane Alibegashvili, ‘David Kakabadze’, Tvorchestvo, no. 8 (1989) p. 31.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    Boris Pasternak, Literaturnaia Gruziia, no. 9 (1967) p. 106.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    Lidia Zlatkevich, Pirosmaniana Lado Gudiashvili’, Literaturnaia Gruziia no. 9 (1969) pp. 85, 86.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Quoted in V. A. Volkov, ‘Shkola Volkova’, Ogonek, no. 20 (1968) pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  17. 27.
    R. Kh. Taktysh, Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo Uzbekistana (Tashkent: Fan, 1972) p. 53.Google Scholar
  18. 28.
    Anatolii Kantor, ‘Kratkaia istoriia likvidatsii khudozhestvennoi kritiki’, Dekorativnoe iskusstvo, no. 1 (1990) p. 9.Google Scholar
  19. 29.
    Alex Gangus, ‘Na ruinakh pozitivnoi estetiki’, Novyi mir, no. 9 (1988), p. 148.Google Scholar
  20. 30.
    Leonid Zinger, ‘Dialektika tridtsadtykh’, Tvorchestvo, no. 7 (1989) p. 8.Google Scholar
  21. 31.
    A. Vol’ter, ‘Nashi zadachi’, Iskusstvo no. 1–2 (1933) p. vi.Google Scholar
  22. 33.
    Vitalii Manin, Istoriia iz istorii’, Tvorchestvo, no. 7 (1989) pp. 12–14.Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    A. Mikhailov, Izoiskusstvo rekonstruktivnogo perioda (Moscow: Liogiz-Izogiz, 1932) pp. 39–41.Google Scholar
  24. 36.
    A. Mikhailov, ‘Khudozhniki Gruzii’, Iskusstvo, no. 1 (1947) pp. 38–39.Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    Quoted in Dora Shturman, ‘Vokrug belykh odezhd’, Kontinent, no. 62 (1990), p. 185.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Council for Soviet and East European Studies and John O. Norman 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Musya Giants

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations