Socialist Realism: popular themes and ways to connect to people

Socialist Realism became the recognized art form of the Soviet Union. In 1922 the Association of Arts of Revolutionary Russia was formed. Although this was not a government-supported group, it stuck to the regimes ideals in the paintings. The main objectives of this group were to connect to common people and glorify the revolution. In order to do so the artists worked to depict the Red Army, workers, peasants, revolutionary activities, and heroes of labor. Themes that directly related to the common people were the most effective in glorifying the regime and what it stood for. Paintings of collective farms, sports, and industrial / urban subjects connected with people the most since it basically showed their daily lives.
Aleksandr Makovsky 1922 - Boy with Doll
An early AKhRR painting
In 1932, this group was ended, along with many of the other independent art groups. What took its place was the Union of Soviet Artists. There were 11 unions created in various republics along with 53 regional unions including the Moscow Union and the Leningrad Union. The concept of creating one common union for the artists lent itself to direct ideological control for the regime. There were seven main requirements for these official artists to follow:
1. The art had to be easy to understand.
2. The art had to be popular with the masses.
3. The art had to be appreciated for its value and message.
4. It was preferred to have a storytelling component.
5. It should show the history, mission, and achievement of the Soviet Regime.
6. The art should inspire, motivate, and education the people.
7. The art had to stay current with the times and the artists had to be ready to serve the needs of the regime.

Although these seem constricting, the artists who were part of the Unions were not concerned. At the time the official artists believed in the Regime and the ideals it was promoting. The actual style of painting was not heavily regulated, although French impressionism was a strong influence during this time. The artists admired the French Impressionism, but did not like the post-impressionistic styles or French Modernism. The regime also tried to keep outside influences under control, which led to overall rejection of popular styles in the West. Despite that, impressionistic styles were very common.
Maya Kuzminichna Kopitseva
At the Bath House - 1954
A happy depiction of an event that many people
under the Regime could relate to

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