For good and ill, the revolution in Russia in 1917 proved to be a major event in world history. The politics of this event and its evolution during the 20th century are subject to serious differences of opinion. What is unarguable, however, is that the Russian Revolution opened a door to a remarkable flowering of creativity among Russian artists. This renaissance is discussed in a fascinating review article at Hyperallergic.
There is a tendency is to believe that Socialist Realism, “a glorified version of truth where misfortune does not exist, and [which] utilizes the party’s hegemonic power over representations of reality to sculpt the public’s perception of their lived reality, as favoured by Stalin from the mid-1930s, is all that the revolution brought forth. This article makes clear that this was not the case, at least in the beginning.
There were the Constructivists, Cubists, and the Supremacists (such as Malevich), but there were also “traditionalists” such as Yuri Pimenov who adapted their work to the new century.
By 1935, Socialist Realism had become the only acceptable art to be supported by the State, a position that lasted for decades. “During the 1960s, even after the Communist Party’s pressure on the artists was loosened, Socialist Realism remained predominant in Russia, and its lasting influence on Russia art was detectable until the 2000s.” It is still the only sponsored art in North Korea.
Well worth the read.