Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pavel Filonov

Everyone has a different type of art that they like and Pavel Filonov in my opinion has a very unique style. Pavel Filonov is a Russian painter, graphic artist, and a poet. He was born in Moscow on January 8, 1883 (December 27, 1882 Julian Calendar) but became an orphan during his childhood. He was considered to be from a working-class background when he moved to St. Petersburg he earned his living by doing embroidery, house painting, restoring buildings and icons, and retouching up photographs. He attended the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg in 1908 but did not graduate. One of the earliest works of Filonov was called A Hero and his Fate in 1909-10 which was on an oil canvas. Filonov main type of artwork was Russian folk art, primitive art, and many wall paintings.  “His paintings were executed according to his principle of sdelannost’ (a neologism: ‘madness’ or ‘craftiness’), which involved unremitting hard work on the art object leading to an extraordinarily detailed, crystalline, iridescent, apparently unstructured painterly texture; inspiration was discounted, craftsmanship exalted and the aim was the cognition of all qualities of the object, visible and invisible, down to its last atom (Milner-Gulland).”Filonov would not sell any of his art to private collectors even though he was starving. He believed that art belonged to the people. In 1925 he opened the Filovonv School which was considered to be a “formative experience even for artists who subsequently reacted against it and was a significant phenomenon in Leningrad cultural life, influencing, among others, the poet N. Zabolosky (Milner-Gulland).”  In 1912, Filovnov wrote the article The Canon and the Law, in which he expressed the principles of analytical realism, or “anti-Cubism”. “According to Filonov, Cubism represents objects using elements of their surface geometry but “analytical realists” should represent objects using elements of their inner soul.” Some of his works are Fishing Schooner, King Feast and Animals 1925, 1930 and many more others. Pavel Filonov died on December 3, 1941 during the Nazi Siege of Leningrad.   

Fishing Schooner 1912-1913

Animals 1925

Animals 1930

King Feast

Information from

Author: Robin Milner-Gulland from Grove Art Online

Pictures from: 

Rusarts Fine Art Company

Film in 1930s Russia

1930’s for Russia was considered to be the decade of social construction. Russia society was going through many changes and one was the film industry. This brought a large audience to the theaters in Russia. This change of the film industry was led by the new organization of Soiuzkino and its new chairmen Boris Shumiatkiiwhich. They were responsible for financing and production of most films during this time period. Sovkino helped strengthen ideological control over filmmaking by introducing censorship of screenplays and instituting rules for film reviews in central media. The chairmen Boris main goal was to make the film industry self-financing but highly controlled by the government. Another goal was to change the idea of the actual film to make it more “accessible”, more entertaining and enjoyable f or the audience. Another big name in Russian film is Sergei Eisenstein.  Even though film was taking a different direction the film scenarios was highly controlled by the government. Both Eisenstein and Shumiakiiwhich obstructed by the government’s controls there were other directors that liked this “new direction” of the film industry. There were two big film hits in 1934 with a large Soviet audience which were: Happy-Go-Lucky Fellows, and Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev.  Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev was based on a true story on a hero named Chapaev which was an everyday soldier that rose in command during the Civil War. The movie was based on the novel by Dmitrii Furmanov based on Chapaev’s courageous story. “Under the under his commissioner, he taught his undisciplined troops the value of order, subordination, and the primacy of the cause over the individual (Geldern).”  The change of film was able to give the Russian society a new look into the world of film and a better entertaining type of film.   

Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein


Advertisement for the film Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev


Blog’s Information Based off of:

Author of Above article: James von Geldem


1920s In Russia

In the early 1920s Russia began a new phase in “Kremlin leadership fluctuated between antagonistic and conciliatory attitudes perceived foes (Geldern).” The Kremlin is in Moscow and is for instance it was considered to be the Soviet Union’s “White House” or government building. The government was moved here early of 1918. In 1918 there were stricter rules places on the Russian churches, which lead to a new religious organization law in 1929 where the churches had a harder time with supporting those restrictions.  

There was a continuous shortage of grain and food, which brought many working class people to protest the way things were being ran. Stalin was in a predicament that brought the idea of using collective farms instead of peasant farms. The idea was called collectivization, which was considered to bring resentment to the churches (Geldern). Collectivization was the idea that was thought to raise the food supply by ending individual peasant farming with collective ones.  Stalin’s idea was believed to be based on to principles, “One was that large units of production, organized along the lines of industrial enterprises and with access to mechanized equipment, were far more efficient and would permit the extraction of greater surpluses than the traditional strip farming practiced by Russian peasants. The other was that kulaks represented a counterweight to Soviet power in the villages and by their very nature constituted a “class-alien” element that had to be eliminated (Geldern).” Collectivization can be considered to under the “first five year plan.”

The First five year plan was a list of economic improvements that Stalin wanted to do to advance the country’s economy. The collectivization was put in the first five year plan in 1928. All the events were a big part of the ideas of trying to improve the life of Russians and the society as a whole.   


Picture from:

Information was gathered from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, Author: James Von Geldern:

Russia A History, Gregory L. Freeze, Third Edition.