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article is not an art history and historical analysis of Socialist Realism in
the 20th century, but general information about the character of Socialist Realism,
with particular attention to Czech Socialist Realism.
Realism was the culturel epoch of the 20th century. It was set up after the Russian
revolution of 1917, when Lenin and Stalin and their Russian communist party came
to the power in Russia.
The motto of Russian Socialist Realism was; „We are loyal with Komsomol. We follow the deeds of heroes with work and
fighting. We are loyal to the revolution of October, loyal to the gun, loyal to
the people. We are Lenin pioneers.
Realism started after the comunist putsch in 1948, when President Benes was
replaced by the comunist leader Klement
Gotwald. Socialist Realism was the state‘s official art. It was the new ideological
doctrine which had to be respected by all official artists. These official
artists were well paid and received government support. It was a very complex
political and cultural situation in all communist countries under the dictate
The Socialist Realism in Czechoslovakia and the other socialist republics was
nationalist, with artistic symbols of the country‘s heritage. Socialist Realism
extended beyond Europe. In the International Youth
Hostel in Cairo
I saw an example of locally enhanced Socialist Realism. It was a wooden relief
with motifs of workers with the factories behind them. One of them has a Pharoic skirt and a long arm which we can see on ancient
you could see Socialist Realism throughout the culture and daily life; panel
houses, furniture, fashion, music, theatre, literature, visual art. Socialist Realism
was figurative art without sex, with idealistic heroes working, fighting, governing, as happy families and in nature. The figures in the
pictures looked to the horizon towards the beautiful future of Communism. The
composition of the pictures was static, generally horizontal and vertical. The
perspective was geometric or air perspective or coloured perspective. The
artist used colours as political and ideological symbols. The avant-garde was
forgotten. The colours were transparent with the dark conture around the
objects. The Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 finished the
epoch of Czech Socialist Realism and set up new forms of Socialist Realism with
Russian artefacts: Lenin, Moscow,
Kremlin, hammer and sickle.
Realism was handcraft, not art. The artistic scenery in Czechoslovakia
before 1968 and after was very complex. On the one side was Socialist Realism
as the official art and on the other side independent non official artistic
studios continuing at the European level. The artists who kept their work away
from official Socialist art were in fact the avant-garde in Czechoslovakia
before 1989 and after.
epoch of Socialistic Realism has not been properly analysed.
About five years ago in Prague
there was an exhibition of Socialist Art in the Gallery Rudolfinum.
In 2009 Russian Socialist Realism was exhibited in Cesky
Krumlov in the Gallery of the academic painter Eugen Schiele. I found an article about Socialist Realism in a book
in the Wren library in Cambridge
library in my own University
of Applied Arts in Prague.
no studies of what happened to all the artists and their artistic works, who had not been loyal with the government and Socialist Realism.
Some of these artists between 1948 – 1989 and after were
persecuted and resorted to inner or outer emigration. either withdrawing
into privacy or leaving the country.
readers, let me show you the pictures with the Czech, Egyptian and Russian Socialist
Realism; The fresco in Smíchov railway station in Prague, the statue of a worker in the railway
station in Pilzen, Cairo Youth Hostel, and a portrait