From Russia With Love: Communist Art from the Avant-Garde to the Popular Front
Madole, Milo Reed
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Visual art, as human beings have always known, is capable of invoking feelings in its viewers that words and other forms of communication sometimes cannot articulate. In this way, art has long been an important tool for expressing opinions and ideas about political concepts. From the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs to Joseph Goebbels of Nazi Germany and well beyond, dictators, democrats, demigods, despots, and despoilers have all used visual art to serve their own purposes. Over time, however, this relationship between the political and the artistic has gone through a myriad of shifts and cycles. While art has continuously influenced political developments, the same is true in reverse. During the first half of the twentieth century, the titanic confrontation between the ideologies of communism and fascism saw one of the greatest historical examples of the dual relationship between art and politics. As millions of propaganda paintings, posters, and sketches attest, art took an active role in shaping national and international political perceptions. But this relationship was certainly not one-dimensional. At the same time that art helped to shape the political landscape, totalitarian dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin shaped the development of art. As Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union prepared to battle for physical control of the European continent, the authoritarian leaders of these states increasingly co-opted art for its use as a political weapon.Missing page 8.