The Avant-Grade Movement

Between the years 1907-1917 Russia began changing, exploring new ideas and pushing boundaries with new forms of experimentation in it’s art. This change is known as the Avant-Grade movement. The movement consisted of young artist who had new views on the world, and ways to express these new ideas though art. The Avant-Grade movement called attention the real world, and rejected ideas of the mystical in their art. Gancharova, a leading member early in the movement produced a new “neo-primitive Russian style” with the use of angular silhouettes. Larionov, another leading member early in the movement was called the first Russian impressionist. With Ganchoarova and Larionov Russia began to surpass other European countries in the art world Larionov often said “the future is ours” and Ganchoarova stated “we are not a providence of Paris.” But the artist in the new movement often were faced with criticism, for example when Larionov and Gancharova organized an art exhibition many critics stated that the art work looked like it could have been painted by a donkey. Later a new group became central to the movement, this group was know as the Futurists, members of this group came from many divers backgrounds and therefore produced different styles of artwork. Futurist included poets, painters, and actors that would work together to produce new forms of art. Poets would write books of poetry, which would then be illustrated by painters creating a new exciting type of book where painters and poets mixed words with images. Stavinsky’s Rite of Spring, is another example of the artist braking away form the traditional art. Rite of Spring is a ballet that used different style then typical ballets. The set and costumes are filled with vibrant colors and the dancing are not as gracefully as what is typically thought of as ballet. Although the Avant-Grade movement was short lived in had a lasting impact on Russia and the rest of Europe.

3 thoughts on “The Avant-Grade Movement

  1. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was more than just a different style “ballet”- both the music and the choreography were so revolutionary, that at its 1913 premiere, a ruckus broke out in the audience. There was a very strong reaction to the notes in the music and the worldly, corporeal, harsh, even “crude” choreography. The theatre, which had been recognized as a place for high society and culture had been taken to a base level. Undoubtedly, this performance is very powerful; its tangible physical effect on the listener/viewer is remarkable. Its metrical energy and influence of captivating emotion created a whole new sound.

  2. I agree that avant-garde movement had an impact on Russia, but I think that connection between Russian art and the rest of Europe during this time is unique. The avant- garde movement gave the opportunity for Russian artists with different social backgrounds and opinions to communicate through means that can be understood inter- culturally. The movement pushed the boundaries of social norms of art by emphasizing freedom of expression. The new, revolutionary ideas that came out of the avant-garde movement propelled cultural change in Europe as well as Russia which encouraged revolutionary changes. Question: Although the avant-garde movement came to a halt in 1917, did the principles of thinking that originated from the movement remain in Russian society later in history?

    • I’m intrigued by the question you posted at the end of your blog, and even though the Avant-Garde Movement was short lived, it was a significant cultural event that called for change. Many of the artists of the movement studied outside of Russia, and at the time Russia was the only nation still with an autocratic government. The Avant-Garde artists saw not only that the Tzar’s rule was outdated, but also that the European governments of the time were much more sovereign. They brought this knowledge back to Russia, which propelled the need for social and government change even more. Later, at the latter end of the Movement preceding the revolution, the art began to feature more Socialist ideals. And even though the movement came to halt shortly thereafter, Socialism lead the Russians to be one of the most powerful nations in the world following World War II. So to you answer your question, yes, the Avant-Garde Movement had a significant impact in the culture of Russia, as well as the governmental policies. However, like autocracy in Russia, Socialism again became outdated for the modern world, and once the policies of Perestroika and Glastnov were established, so was a steady decline in the popularity of Communism in Russia.

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