Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art, 1905–1953

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MA History of Art Special Option

Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art, 1905–1953

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El Lissitzky, Wolkenbügel (Cloud-Iron), 1924-25. Photomontage
Heinrich Vogeler, Cover design for MOPR (Workers International Relief) journal, no. 1, January 1924
Mikhail Kaufman, Alexander Rodchenko standing in front of dismantled Hanging Spatial Construction, 1922
Liubov Popova, Space-Force Construction, 1921, oil with wood dust on plywood. State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki
El Lissitzky, Wolkenbügel (Cloud-Iron), 1924-25. Photomontage
Heinrich Vogeler, Cover design for MOPR (Workers International Relief) journal, no. 1, January 1924
Mikhail Kaufman, Alexander Rodchenko standing in front of dismantled Hanging Spatial Construction, 1922
Liubov Popova, Space-Force Construction, 1921, oil with wood dust on plywood. State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki

Course Leader: Dr Maria Mileeva

The course investigates Russian twentieth century artists crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, making contact with developments across Europe and America, either through the trauma of emigration, or deliberate cultural export, through exhibitions, publications, and collaborations. Case studies might include Russian artists in Rome in 1917, Matisse in Moscow in 1911, Russian artists in cubist Paris, connections with the Bauhaus, Lissitzky among Dadaists and Constructivists, Alfred H. Barr in Russia, Gabo in emigration, Le Corbusier’s work in Moscow, Malevich in Poland, the 1927 exhibition of French art in Moscow, Chagall’s return to Russia, Soviet pavilion at the 1925 Paris exhibition, American connections with Russian art, and so on, as well as changing ideologies that constantly re-assessed artists’ recognition or survival.

Primary sources will be investigated on visits to archives, exhibitions, and museums in UK. The course will also undertake a study trip to St Petersburg and Moscow, where students will have the opportunity to examine a wide range of works of art in situ. These visits include presentations and discussions of diverse research aims and methodologies. Within the study of Russian and Soviet art, the course will introduce you to research at higher levels investigating the commissioning, making, meaning, and purpose of works in a radically shifting cultural and political environment. The dissertation will provide you with disciplined, useful experience in defining and investigating your subject and then structuring, writing, and editing a thesis.

The course will interest students of twentieth-century art history, politics, cultural studies, and Russian studies. Russian language is not essential. German or French may be equally useful. There are intensive language classes are available at the LSE.

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