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Detiam op Lenine

Детям о Ленине

Detiam o Lenine (For Children About Lenin) was published by the State Publishing House in 1926, two years after Lenin’s death, and created by the Institute for Children’s Reading. The book’s editor is A. Kravchenko, who put together a lengthy 34-chapter, 71-page children’s book on the history of the revolution and the importance of Lenin. The book’s illustrations were executed by Boris Kustodiev, a former member of the World of Art group, whose members brought Russian book art to a new and exquisite level in the early twentieth century. Kustodiev’s other works include painting, portraiture, and stage design. After the 1917 Revolution he began to do illustrations for children’s books through the Raduga (Rainbow) publishing house. At the time that he created these illustrations, Kustodiev was suffering from paraplegia following tuberculosis of the spine, and was confined to his bed.

Megan Swift

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Iunost', idi!

Юность, иди!

Iunost’, idi! (Youth, Go!) is an early Soviet motivational manual on how to become an exceptional worker and efficient manager. Its images, and the slogans that accompany them both within the frame and on opposing pages, are intended to inspire Soviet youth to become the leaders of the Soviet future by training their bodies and their minds to act like high-performance machines.

The book was published by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Union (VTsSPS), and the previous works of its author, A. Gastev, are dedicated to the theme of labour, including such titles as How to Work and The Industrial World. For this book the VTsSPS commissioned drawings from artists working in leading avant-garde styles such as Cubo-Futurism and Constructivism. With the exception of the cover, which is executed in bold primary colors (black, white and red), all of the sixteen pen-and-ink drawings in this book are in striking black and white. The inclusion of bold typography in every image (generally with the aim of expressing spirited commands to the viewer) is typical of the Cubo-Futurist aesthetic, as is the focus on speed and technology. Many of the images convey the speed of motion by capturing action in several perspectives at once, or in angular planes and arrested gestures. The images also contain elements of Constructivism, which expressed robust physicality, dynamic movement and workaday functionality.

Megan Swift

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Chto ni stranitsa to slon to l'vitsa

Что ни страница то слон то львица

The revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s picturebook Whatever Page You Look At, There’s an Elephant or a Lioness (1928), playfully welcomes children into a world of the book as it self-consciously confuses the space between fiction (the page) and the real world (animals). Illustrated by the avant-garde artist Kirill Zdanevich, it shares many features with avant-garde graphic design, typography, and illustration.

Sara Weld

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Dlia chego krasnaia armiia

Для чего красная армия

Dlia chego krasnaia armiia [What the Red Army Is For] (1927) is the story of two boys, Ivan and Stepan, and their encounter with a Red Army detachment in their town.  Galina and Olga Chichagova’s illustrations help the young reader to visualize the various duties performed by soldiers.  In doing so, their illustrations map out the important role the Red Army plays in defending the Soviet motherland.

Stephen M. Norris

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Chto my stroim?: Tetradʹ s kartinkami

Что мы строим?: Тетрадь с картинками

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