[MOSCOW PLANETARIUM] Zvezdy [i.e. Stars]. P. Zhigankov.
[MOSCOW PLANETARIUM] Zvezdy [i.e. Stars]
[MOSCOW PLANETARIUM] Zvezdy [i.e. Stars]
[MOSCOW PLANETARIUM] Zvezdy [i.e. Stars]

[MOSCOW PLANETARIUM] Zvezdy [i.e. Stars]

Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1932. Item #1280

16 pp.: ill. 18,5x13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Small tears of the spine, otherwise near fine.
First and only edition. Scarce.
The children’s book was dedicated to a newly organized institution, Moscow planetarium. Opened in 1929, it became a part of the atheistic campaign and an important place for Soviet space observation.
Being one of 13 planetariums that existed at that time, the Moscow institution stood out from the rest. Its first director, astronomer Konstantin Shestovskii had improved a Zeiss projector, making stars to twinkle while there were fixed images originally. An idea had come to him when Mayakovsky and Paustovsky visited the planetarium and criticized “dead sky”. By 1934, stars twinkled, a comet crossed the sky, clouds moved, auroras appeared and even Tsiolkovsky’s rocket flew.
In 1933, the first Soviet rockets were constructed in the basement of the Moscow planetarium. Navigators of polar and long-range aviation underwent training there, before making air routes to Antarctica; pilots and future cosmonauts attended evening lectures about the starry sky, including Yuri Gagarin. Tourist groups came from all over the country. The planetarium hadn’t been closed even in World War II, holding lectures and astronomical classes for different ages. Another key figure of this institution was Konstantin Portsevskii who organized classes beginning in 1950. He developed his own methodology and drew up educational astronavigation charts for future cosmonauts. He was an author of a range of books and articles on astronomy and headed the planetarium in 1972-1987.
The book is illustrated by Dmitrii Melnikov (1889-1966), known as a book illustrator and poster designer. He started to draw caricatures on public figures during his study at Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in the 1910s. He published drawings, as well as articles on art, in magazines ‘Teatr i Rampa’, ‘Novyi Satirikon’, ‘Tvorchestvo’. In the 1930s, he made caricatures of masters of political caricatures Deni, Cheremnykh, Moor. Just like them, he designed propaganda posters and collaborated with the Soviet press.
He depicted the amazing Zeiss projector and crowds of people attracted to know how exactly Earth and the Solar system look like. According to the book, a Soviet specialist showing the starry sky and explaining its movement was called “upravnebom” that literally meant ‘administrator of the sky’.

The only copy is located at the University of Chicago, according to Worldcat.

Price: $1,950.00

See all items in Children's Books
See all items by