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Unit information: Art in Russia and the Soviet Union (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Art in Russia and the Soviet Union (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HART30025
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Mike O'Mahony
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit explores developments in the theory and practice of art during a crucial period in Russian and Soviet history. Commencing with an analysis of the historical conditions and cultural debates in early 20th century Russia, the unit considers the following themes: the emergence of an early Russian avant-garde; the impact of the First World War and the 1917 revolutions; the new role for artists in the immediate post-revolutionary era; the ideological and cultural debates of the 1920s; the re-emergence of figurative styles in the 1920s and 1930s; the formation and development of a Socialist Realist aesthetic; and the role of the artist during the conflict known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have (1) developed a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the development the main artistic currents in Russia and the Soviet Union; (2) in-depth understanding of its historical, artistic and cultural contexts; 3) demonstrated the ability to analyse and evaluate aesthetic issues pertinent to the study of Russian and Soviet art; (4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument. Additionally, as part of a level H/6 unit, students will be expected to (5) display high level skills in evaluating, analysing, synthesising and (where apt) critiquing images and ideas.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Information

One summative essay of 3000 words (50%) and one examination of two hours (50%). Both elements will assess (1) knowledge and critical understanding of the development of the main artistic currents in Russia and the USSR; of (2) and (3) its historical, artistic, aesthetic and cultural contexts. The coursework essay in particular will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate ILOs (4) and (5).

Reading and References

• Cullerne Bown, Matthew, Socialist Realist Painting, New Haven 1998. • Cullerne Bown, Matthew, and Brandon Taylor, Art of the Soviets: Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in a One-Party State, 1917-1992, Manchester 1993. • The Great Utopia: the Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde 1915-32 (exh. cat.), Guggenheim Museum, New York 1992. • Günther, Hans (Ed.), The Culture of the Stalin Period, London 1990. • Lodder, Christina, Russian Constructivism, New Haven and London 1983.