Catalogue


Iconography of power [electronic resource] : Soviet political posters under Lenin and Stalin /
Victoria E. Bonnell.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
description
xxii, 363 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0520087127 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
isbn
0520087127 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7951248
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 333-344) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"An invaluable book that makes available a huge fund of visual material from Soviet Russia and provides a rich contextualization of these images. Much larger in scope than a study of political posters,Iconography of Powertraces the remarkable evolution of Soviet culture."--Katerina Clark, author ofPetersburg, Crucible of Cultural Revolution "In this wonderful book, Victoria Bonnell draws us into the dramatic world of Soviet political culture in the times of Lenin and Stalin. Using the powerful images encoded in a dazzling array of political posters, she enables us to experience Soviet values and sensibilities.Iconography of Poweris vibrant, lucid, and elegant.--Nina Tumarkin, author ofLenin Lives! "A worthy contribution both to the study of Russia's visual arts in the Soviet era and to sociology and political thought in the Soviet Union down to the 1950s."--S. Frederick Starr, author ofRed and Hot
Flap Copy
"An invaluable book that makes available a huge fund of visual material from Soviet Russia and provides a rich contextualization of these images. Much larger in scope than a study of political posters, Iconography of Powertraces the remarkable evolution of Soviet culture."--Katerina Clark, author of Petersburg, Crucible of Cultural Revolution "In this wonderful book, Victoria Bonnell draws us into the dramatic world of Soviet political culture in the times of Lenin and Stalin. Using the powerful images encoded in a dazzling array of political posters, she enables us to experience Soviet values and sensibilities. Iconography of Poweris vibrant, lucid, and elegant.--Nina Tumarkin, author of Lenin Lives! "A worthy contribution both to the study of Russia's visual arts in the Soviet era and to sociology and political thought in the Soviet Union down to the 1950s."--S. Frederick Starr, author of Red and Hot
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-07:
Almost from the beginning, the government of Soviet Russia found the poster an invaluable tool of education, propaganda, and exhortation. Inexpensive to produce in great numbers and visually exciting, posters were an excellent way to reach a largely illiterate populace. Soon Russian cities were blanketed with brightly colored, symbolically potent graphic art. Bonnell has performed a valuable service in exploring the development of several themes in Soviet poster art, showing how the treatment of workers, peasants, women, leaders, and enemies shifted over the years. She has also reproduced many examples, eight in color and more than 90 others in black and white. She shows how the posters reflected the regime's transition from revolutionary struggle to exhortation, to, finally, a kitschy, meshchanskii self-satisfaction in the post WW II period. Bonnell's analysis is strongest in her treatment of the worker, peasant, and female icons; in some of the later chapters she relies too heavily on other writers, even as she familiarizes the reader with the sources in a field that may be somewhat remote. An accessible and useful addition to the literature on Soviet art, propaganda, and culture. All levels. J. Zimmerman; University of Pittsburgh
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
Masters at visual propaganda, the Bolsheviks produced thousands of vivid and compelling posters after they seized power in October 1917. Intended for a semi-literate population that was accustomed to the rich visual legacy of the Russian autocracy and the Orthodox Church, political posters came to occupy a central place in the regime's effort to imprint itself on the hearts and minds of the people and to remold them into the new Soviet women and men. In this first sociological study of Soviet political posters, Victoria Bonnell analyzes the shifts that took place in the images, messages, styles, and functions of political art from 1917 to 1953. Everyone who lived in Russia after the October revolution had some familiarity with stock images of the male worker, the great communist leaders, the collective farm woman, the capitalist, and others. These were the new icons' standardized images that depicted Bolshevik heroes and their adversaries in accordance with a fixed pattern. Like other "invented traditions" of the modern age, iconographic images in propaganda art were relentlessly repeated, bringing together Bolshevik ideology and traditional mythologies of pre-Revolutionary Russia. Symbols and emblems featured in Soviet posters of the Civil War and the 1920s gave visual meaning to the Bolshevik worldview dominated by the concept of class. Beginning in the 1930s, visual propaganda became more prescriptive, providing models for the appearance, demeanor, and conduct of the new social types, both positive and negative. Political art also conveyed important messages about the sacred center of the regime which evolved during the 1930s from the celebration of the heroic proletariat to the deification of Stalin. Treating propaganda images as part of a particular visual language, Bonnell shows how people "read" them--relying on their habits of seeing and interpreting folk, religious, commercial, and political art (both before and after 1917) as well as the fine art traditions of Russia and the West. Drawing on monumental sculpture and holiday displays as well as posters, the study traces the way Soviet propaganda art shaped the mentality of the Russian people (the legacy is present even today) and was itself shaped by popular attitudes and assumptions. Iconography of Powerincludes posters dating from the final decades of the old regime to the death of Stalin, located by the author in Russian, American, and English libraries and archives. One hundred exceptionally striking posters are reproduced in the book, many of them never before published. Bonnell places these posters in a historical context and provides a provocative account of the evolution of the visual discourse on power in Soviet Russia.
Main Description
During the Russian revolution, confronted with a semiliterate population, the Bolsheviks relied on visual propaganda to rally public enthusiasm, inculcate novel ideas, and instill loyalty. Vivid posters issued between 1918 and 1953 help us to understand how Soviet political art shaped the mentality of the Russian population. Reproduced here are 100 of these posters. 8 color plates. 92 bandw illustrations.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Key to Abbreviations
Note on Transliteration
Introductionp. 1
Iconography of the Worker in Soviet Political Artp. 20
Representation of Women in Early Soviet Postersp. 64
Peasant Women in Political Posters of the 1930sp. 100
The Leader's Two Bodies: Iconography of the Vozhd'p. 136
Bolshevik Demonology in Visual Propagandap. 186
The Apotheosis of Stalinist Political Artp. 242
Notesp. 281
Bibliographyp. 333
Illustration Creditsp. 345
Indexp. 347
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem