June 30, 2022

"[T]he Bolsheviks, under Vladimir Lenin, took control of this symbol of tsarist decadence" — The Imperial Porcelain Manufactory — and renamed it the State Porcelain Manufactory, "seeing surprising potential in it..."

"...  as a wheelhouse for artistic innovation and the production of propaganda. Stocks of unpainted, snow-white china became a tantalising canvas for avant-garde artists keen to express their utopian ideologies and rouse enthusiasm for the new socialist era, giving this delicate, bourgeois material an unexpected, almost contradictory, second life.... Agitation porcelain, as it became known, featured effigies of Lenin and was decorated with calls to action.... [C]rockery once intended for the lavish feasts of the Romanovs was now emblazoned with militant Reds trampling upon their white ermine furs (Adamovich, 1923). Danko's porcelain chess set (1923) used the same colour play, with a red army taking on a white skeleton king whose proletariat pawns are in chains. While the porcelain plates' blocky constructivist artwork conveyed energy, explosions and destruction, the requisitioning of the factory was part of a softer approach to demonstrate the communists' respect for Russian patrimony, and ingratiate the precarious new regime with the powerful upper-middle classes whose support they depended on in order to govern."

19 comments:

Temujin said...

I wonder if a few years later, some of those plates showed images of brave revolutionaries standing in line for toilet paper.

rcocean said...

I’m a little teapot
Short and stout.
Here is my handle,
Here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up
Its all over Bourgoise Opression and
Dialetical Materialism.
Hear me shout.
Tip me over
And kill the counter-revolutionary Cadets and White Guards!

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Detest the ideology and wouldn't have wanted to live the reality, but there's no doubt some of the memorabilia is pretty cool and historically iconic. I have a modest collection of pre-war Commie shit. Which I feel a little conflicted about because, really, how different is it from the Nazi memorabilia I wouldn't have in my home?

wendybar said...

So, is that the Progressives NEXT move to spread their fake Russian Propaganda they have been spewing for over 6 years?? I hope everybody can see the similarity of this and the American Mainstream Media who lie to us every single day.

stunned said...

From the article: “Socialism had failed and revolutionary art had done nothing to better the lives of the poor.”

On 29 May 2005, the stockholders of Lomonosov Porcelain Factory passed a resolution to return to their pre-Soviet name, the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory.

Enigma said...

I'm rather curious about old propaganda, as it reveals if and how true art survives under layers of thick, heavy, and obvious politics. USSR, US, UK, German, Japanese, all the same. Also remember that a huge percentage of Christian and general religious art is sponsored by a patron or the religion itself, to promote the religion. Also consider that most commercial products are calculated to tug at your emotions, be they Disney, McDonald's, or Starbucks.

Pretty much any commercial, for-profit art could be considered propaganda on some level.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Pelosi-onian

Roger Sweeny said...

Yuri Slezkine's great "The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution" is about how the revolutionaries believed in two things. One: the historical necessity and cleansing power of violent revolution (a morphism of apocalyptic Christianity "I come not to bring peace but a sword."). Two: the Pamirs. Literally, where the world's tallest mountains come together in central Asia, but metaphorically to mean the great artists of history, especially poets and novelists like Tolstoy. One might have thought that they would have been consigned to the dustbin of history as bourgeois but exactly the opposite.

boatbuilder said...

There's a joke about Trump, Chy-nah, and plates in here somewhere...

realestateacct said...

In an antique place in the West 20's in NYC I saw a lovely large cameo of Lenin clearly from this period. I have long regretted not purchasing it. I would love one of those plates. I used to own a Menorah which included the tsarist eagle (passed on to a relative) and have hoped to find one with a hammer and sickle.

Rollo said...

Will our own bad, propagandistic art someday seem quaint, and cute, and evocative of a simpler, more innocent time?

Joe Smith said...

This is CNN.

The commies would blush if they could see how NPR has perfected totalitarian propaganda...

Narr said...

I'd go for some of that. I've got Nazi and other militaria in my home, the core of which is stuff my late FIL (8th Inf Div) brought back from WWII.

One of my oldest friends and roommates had a huge propaganda poster from the USSR that some professor had given him. It showed a big jolly Red Ivan with various little fascist baddies skewered and bleeding on his bayonet--just a classic that I'm afraid my friend lost in some move.

In Prussia, all Jewish newlyweds were required to purchase a set of porcelain from the Royal Porcelain Works. I'm not sure what artwork they could choose, if any.

h said...

The beautiful plate shown in the photo is the "Help the Starving Population" dish from 1921 (Leninist era). 11 years later (1932-33 Stalinist era) the Soviet state deliberately adopted policies that starved millions of Ukrainians (Holodomor).

bentoak said...

...a 'softer approach'. Okay... two cheers for a kinder, gentler totalitarianism.

Wince said...

My “I Love Lucy, Hollywood Here We Come!” commemorative plate from the Franklin Mint is propagandistic?

Candide said...

"...the requisitioning of the factory was part of a softer approach to demonstrate the communists' respect for Russian patrimony..."

So when radical socialist goons nationalize private industries, they are practicing "softer approach", demonstrating respect to historical heritage?

"...and ingratiate the precarious new regime with the powerful upper-middle classes whose support they depended on in order to govern."

There is absolutely no evidence of communists' collusion with any "upper-middle classes". They were building classless society, eliminating any class distinctions as a matter of principle. The only safe class to belong was Proletariat. Any suspicion of allegiance to other class was practically a death sentence. Communists were perfectly open about it, declaring it at every opportunity.

mikee said...

Franklin Mint hardest hit by this Soviet porcelain propaganda.

PM said...

Liked Malevich, but El Lissitzky's work was outstanding and influential far beyond its Soviet promotion.