Socialist realism

DEFINITION

Socialist realism was the official style in the arts in the Soviet Union (USSR) from the early 1930s until the decline of Communism in the 1980s, disappearing entirely by the time of that country's dissolution in 1989. The onset of socialist realism meant the end of the avant-garde, notably in abstraction in such Russian art movements as by the Constructivist and Suprematism. The style was a conservative, figurative and narrative one, meant to be accessible to all viewers, and never to deviate from the Party line. In painting and sculpture, it was devoted to glorifying the state, its leaders (see thumbnail to rightsuch as this portrait of Nikolai Lenin, 1870-1924), and the people, idealizing the working class. In architecture, it excluded all but functional design within a traditional context, in a severe manner sometimes known as "Stalinist gothic." Be careful not to confuse socialist realism with social realism.

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