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Epic Russian Revolution art exhibition to open in London

February 08, 5:50 UTC+3 LONDON

One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history

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© Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS

LONDON, February 8. /TASS/. Russia will showcase its most significant revolutionary art objects in an epic exhibition in London's Royal Academy of Arts as part of commemorative events to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

The event, headlined Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, will open for public on February 11 - April 17 and will feature about 200 art objects from the state Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum and regional museums.

"One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art," the Royal Academy of Arts said in a statement.

"This far-ranging exhibition will - for the first time - survey the entire artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia, encompassing Kandinsky’s boldly innovative compositions, the dynamic abstractions of Malevich and the Suprematists, and the emergence of Socialist Realism, which would come to define Communist art as the only style accepted by the regime," the statement reads.

Among the canvases to be showcased are Blue Crest by Vassily Kandinsky, Peasants by Kazimir Malevich, The Promenade by Marc Chagall, Textile Workers by Alexander Deineka, as well as masterpieces by Alexander Samokhvalov, Boris Grigoriev, Boris Kustodiev, Igor Grabar and other artists.

"We will also include photography, sculpture, filmmaking by pioneers such as Eisenstein, and evocative propaganda posters from what was a golden era for graphic design," the Royal Academy of Arts said.

"The human experience will be brought to life with a full-scale recreation of an apartment designed for communal living, and with everyday objects ranging from ration coupons and textiles to brilliantly original Soviet porcelain."

The exhibition is partly similar to the vast 1932 show of revolutionary art in Leningrad to mark the 15th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. The event, one of the most significant exhibitions in Russian art history, featured 2,640 works. It was organized by Nikolai Punin, a Russian art scholar and writer, who also was a common-law husband of poet Anna Akhmatova.

Unlike the 1932 exhibition, the items on the display in London will be grouped by themes, not art styles.

The first hall will explore the cult of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. Among other things, it will showcase Isaak Brodskiy’s Vladimir Lenin in Smolny, that was painted in 1930 based on a sketch that Brodsky drew with Lenin’s consent in 1921, and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s Beside Lenin’s Coffin.

Other halls are devoted to landmark periods of the early Soviet history, such as industrialization, collectivization, military communism and the New Economic Policy period, as well as artists’ vision of communism and Russia before the revolution.

Two separate halls are devoted to Kazimir Malevich and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin.

The display will end in the hall named Stalin’s Utopia, which, along with pictures and scale models will house a memorial installation to victims of Stalin’s purges.

The exhibition was warmly received by British critics, receiving four-out-of-five star ratings by several important media outlets. The Telegraph described it as "an epic, ambitious undertaking," allowing to examine "an especially turbulent and tragic period of modern history."

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