Politics and Art Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1195 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Politics and art have gone hand-in-hand from the earliest times. Politics has had an impact on art, and artists have made an impact on political structure. During times of unrest, especially, art becomes a political message as a motivational or propaganda tool. The decades prior to and immediately after the Russian Revolution, for example, shows how art relates to the social circumstances visa versa. Artist's works played a critical role at this time in order to provide more information on the changing philosophy and create a new society.

Artists such as Ivan Kramskoy, for example, were involved with the ideological structure that represented Russian realism in the 1860s, a decade of reform and renovation. This liberal stage of the movement, reflecting the intelligentsia's efforts to free individual thought and public activity from bureaucratic controls, lasted through the mid-1880s. Artists, with their decidedly inferior status in society's estimation and their own, were overwhelmed with the importunate demands of the radicals that they ceased being quiet supporters of the state and decided to contribute their share to political reform. Kramskoy lectured his peers on the moral and civic role of art, telling them that "it was essential not only to draw and paint well but also to convey... thought clearly and expressively," that pictures had to be "wise" and "educational" as well as "beautiful." (Valkenier, 1975, p.256)Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Politics and Art Assignment

Christ in the Desert," did not exactly portray the revolution, but it dealt with the choice between good and evil that people had to choose at this time. Times of revolution occur when there is a moral struggle and citizens must make a decision. Kramskoy interpreted Christ's struggle in the desert against the temptation of Satan as representative of the basic fight against the dark side of human nature. There was so public controversy as to whether this Christ was supposed to represent a determined person ready to act or a disillusioned and exhausted man that finally Kramskoy explained that the picture symbolized the moral problems everyone faces at a decisive moment in life -- whether to serve an ideal, "not to recede an inch before evil," or to succumb to petty interests. Christ is trying to communicate to the viewer the reality of this inner, moral decision that all had to make (ibid).

Ilia Repin, who studied under Kramskoy, was one of the best well-known and documented Russian nineteenth-century artists of the revolutionary times (Millon and Nochlin, 1980). He was a painter and illustrator, master draftsman, etcher and lithographer, as well as a teacher with considerable influence over his students who made great strides in changing the art of future generations. Repin studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Russia.

Against the 1917 Revolution, one of his better known works is "They Did Not Expect Him," painted at the time of the arrests of the terrorists following the assassination of the tsar. Repin stated at this time, "What a time of nightmare that was..pure horror...and I remember the placards bearing the inscription 'regicide' that hung on their chests (ibid, pg. 110). He said his intention was to put his art at the service of the "best" element in Russia to those people who through their "disinterested and heroic actions" sought to bring the most important elements to their country.

He never relented on his beliefs. When turning 80, and his birthday was commemorated, Repin took the homage as vindication of his struggle against alien influences. He assured his admirers in Leningrad that the "futurist degeneration, " referring to the prominent position the leftists… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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