Russian Propaganda Art

During the Civil War in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, the revolutionary government extensively used art as a means of promulgating its ideas.

One of the principal kinds of Russian propaganda art of the time was the political poster. It is through this form of art and mass media that the government called on citizens to learn to read and write, help those in need, and love their country. Some posters were drawn by hand, giving freedom from the press and made it possible to react to the most topical issues as quickly as possible. This has become an important feature of Russian propaganda art. Posters had distinctive traits: bold shapes, bright colors, clear lines, lack of small details added vigor and precipitance.

One unconventional example of Russian propaganda art gave rise to a unique phenomenon in the Russian art of the early 20th century—agitation porcelain amid shortage of paper and surplus of items in porcelain factories. Instead of habitual floral and pastoral subjects, porcelain items gleamed with symbols of the Soviet Republic, such as hammer and sickle, and slogans like “Кто не работает, тот не ест”—“Those who don’t work don’t eat”.

Today Soviet agitation porcelain, representing Russian propaganda art, are coveted items in collections of museums in Russia and abroad as well as private collections.