Russian architecture since the eleventh century up to the early 20th century was predominantly religious. For many centuries, churches were the only buildings that were constructed out of stone. However, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the influence of the Suprematism movement of 1915 brought about the birth of Constructivism, the modernistic architectural style of Russia from 1924-1932. The brief period that followed the 1917 Revolution marked the beginning of the influence of the avant-garde Constructivist movement in the structure and design of major buildings. It enjoyed a short popularity until the late 1920s when it was repudiated by the more conservative Stalinist-era architecture. The principles of Constructivism theory come from three main art movements that evolved in Europe during the early part of the 20th century: Russian Suprematism, Dutch Des Stijl, or Neo Plasticism, and the Bauhaus in Germany . Historical Backdrop
The Russian Revolution of 1917
In early 20th century Russia, particularly in 1917, there was a series of revolutions that eventually destroyed the autocracy of the Tsar. This series of revolutions led by the workers of Russia under their leader Vladimir Lenin was known as the Russian Revolution. The February Revolution in March of 1917 focused on St. Petersburg. During this time, the Soviets, or workers' councils, delegated to the members of the Imperial Parliament the task of governing Russia and overthrowing Nicholas II, the Tsar during that time and the last of the Tsars. Meanwhile, the Soviets, led by the socialists or Bolsheviks, had the full allegiance of the lower-class citizens and workers as well as the political left. The Bolsheviks then formed workers militias. In the October Revolution that followed, the Bolshevik party under the command of their leader Vladimir Lenin, as well as the workers' councils, overthrew the Provisional Government in St. Petersburg. Eventually, the success of the revolution paved the way for the birth of the USSR. After this series of events, peasants took over the lands previously owned by the vassals and redistributed land. This also marked the beginning of communal existence especially among the working classes, which led to the building of several constructivist buildings to house the first communities and to promote the ideology of communism. The Suprematism Movement of 1915
Suprematism is the main ideology in art that inspired Constructivism, which is the predominant architectural style of Russia during the period from 1924 to 1932. Suprematism lasted from 1915 to 1935 and is regarded as the first systematic school of modernism based on purely abstract pictorial compositions and geometric figures. It is a Russian art movement which was originally founded in Moscow in 1913 by the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich. Malevich advocated Suprematism as he believed that this is the perfect way “to liberate art from the ballast of the representational world.” He himself did this by producing art consisting of geometrical shapes flatly painted on the surface of the canvass. The goal of Suprematism is pure sensation and the pictorial space should be emptied of all symbolic content as in Surrealism. Malevich believed that art has to be “decongested and cleared” in order to show a new reality where the most important thing is thought as well as sensation. Malevich's Suprematism was also heavily influenced by the then avant-garde movements in art such as Cubism and Futurism. Suprematism, considering that it was based on Malevich's spiritual beliefs, was regarded as non-objective and apolitical. Aside from its use of only geometric shapes as the ones demonstrated by constructivist forms of architecture, Suprematism also emphasized the use of a limited colour range, which explains the overall appearance of constructivist buildings. The Beginnings and Golden Age of Constructivism
The development of Suprematism led to the movement toward a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document