Orel: Kras. kn. 1923. Item #1587
41 pp. 17,5x13,5 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Spine rubbed, minor tears of edges, otherwise very good.
Scarce. Second edition. First edition published under the title Iskusstvo i proletarskoye gosudarstvo [i.e. Art and Proletarian State] in 1921. The front wrapper was most likely designed by the Soviet artist and book illustrator Alexander Malushin. A student of Vladimir Favorsky, Malushin was one of the first members of the Moscow Union of Artists.
One of the first Soviet books on revolutionary tasks of art compiled by the writer Mikhail Frantsev. The edition sets out the main principles and methods of revolutionary art with a focus on both Soviet provincial and national theatres. In the book, the author underlines the importance of the “proletarian factor” in the organization of theatrical work and singles out two ways of achieving a truly Soviet theatre: creating art for and from the masses. In both cases, Frantsev analyzes existing work and identifies 4 main principles of theatrical art: repertoire for the masses, agitational nature of performances, and the importance of fine arts and cinematography. The author starts his narrative with the comparison of the bourgeoise, “perverted” art with the art of the proletarian state. He also touches upon the futurist movement, criticizing it for its aloof nature. Frantsev encourages Soviet directors to neglect sophisticated theatrical topics and to employ topics that are easily understandable for the masses. The author also underlines the importance of educating the proletariat through specific theatrical schools, studios, and clubs. Frantsev defines the main revolutionary task of art as to create a theatre imbued with propaganda and Soviet values.