The Academy of Fine Arts in the 1920s and early 1930s
IN 2012 A ROOM DEVOTED TO THE MOST DIFFICULT PERIOD IN THE HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS (RAFA) WAS OPENED AT THE INSTITUTION'S ACADEMIC RESEARCH MUSEUM. INTEGRATED WITHIN THE PERMANENT DISPLAY TITLED "ACADEMIC MUSEUM", IT CAN ALSO BE VIEWED AS AN AUTONOMOUS SECTION. ALTHOUGH THE SURVIVING VISUAL EVIDENCE DOES NOT AMOUNT TO A COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF THE SINGULAR AND DIVERSE LIFE AT THE ACADEMY IN THE 1920S, WHEN THAT INSTITUTION WAS HOME TO DIFFERENT AND SOMETIMES MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE TRENDS, IT NEVERTHELESS WIDENS OUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THIS PERIOD.
The Imperial Academy of Fine Arts was abolished by decree in April 1918, as a result of the liquidation of the Ministry of the Imperial Court, to which the Academy reported. The former Academy came to be managed by the People's Commissariat of the Holdings of the Republic, and from July 1918 by a department of the Holdings of the Republic at the People's Commissariat of Education. The new authorities established a Free Art School, replacing the previous Higher College of Arts, which had existed under the old AFA's auspices since 1894.
In August 1918 the school changed its name to the state-run Petrograd Free Art Educational Studios, and the old group of teachers was complemented with new arrivals such as Arkady Rylov, Alexander Savinov, Alexander Matveev, Leonid Sherwood, as well as by artists belonging to the "leftist" groupings such as A. Andreev, Nathan Altman, Mikhail Matyushin and others. Syllabi and examinations were abolished, and in autumn 1918 admission was granted to anyone interested. The specialists who would define the Studios' policies for four years - Nikolai Punin, Nathan Altman, Alexei Karev and losif Shkolnik - championed freedom of education and were opposed to any political pressure on the workings of art.
In the first academic year broad powers were granted to the organs of student self-government - to leading figures of the workshops and painters', architects', and sculptors' "curias", and especially to a central council, which became the Studios' highest governing body, and in whose activities the teachers did not participate. In July 1919 the council was abolished and control of the school became the responsibility of an Educational Council headed by a commissar appointed by the People's Commissariat for Education (Narkompros); its membership included four professors and two students, with half of the members elected and half appointed by the Studios, as well as two students affiliated with the Communist Party or "adhering to the Soviet platform"1. The Council distinguished itself by regularly organizing shows of students' works, either focused on a specific studio or including participants from across the school.
On August 26 1919 the Board of the People's Commissariat for Education issued an order transferring management responsibilities for the Free Studios, as an institution of national significance, to the Moscow Department of Visual Arts of the People's Commissariat for Education. Nationwide reform of higher education was launched in 1920, and the Petrograd Department ofVocational Training (Petroprofobr) won its bid to take over management responsibilities for the school, effective from March 2 1921. The Petrograd Free Art Studios were given a new name, the Academy of Fine Arts, and its charter and curricula approved.
The Academy offered a three-year course of study, with four faculties and one remedial course for students without sufficient high-school preparation. Only 45 students already studying at the Academy, half of whom had been enrolled before the revolution, were allowed to continue their education at senior level. The school recruited new teachers of art and specialised subjects (the painters Grigory Bobrovsky, Mikhail Dobuzhinsky, Osip Braz; the young artists Nikolai Radlov, Vasily Meshkov; and former students from Dmitry Kardovsky's workshop), and introduced the study of foreign languages. The school's "old-timers" included Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Vasily Belyaev and Vasily Savinsky. Sculptors were under the instruction of Ilya Gintsburg, Alexander Matveev, Matvei Manizer, Vsevolod Lishev, Alexander Ulin and Vasily Kozlov. In 1922, for the first time in the previous four years, 12 students each from the painting and sculpture faculties continued on to graduation projects. Soon classes were resumed in the studios of artists sympathetic to the ideas advanced by the proletarian educational-cultural organisations - namely, that a proletarian culture needed to be developed as a counterbalance to the alien and outdated aristocratic culture.
Valuable paintings, art publications and prints which, given fears of war, had been taken to Moscow on the Provisional Government's orders, were returned to Petrograd in 1922. But the Academy's museum was liquidated, with most of its exhibits taken to the Hermitage and the Russian Museum. Unlike the museum, the library continued to operate, hosting lectures and classes for students daily, from morning until evening.
The life of the arts in that period was very diverse. Shows arranged by the Kuindzhi Society, the "Group of Individualists", and the "Partnership of Artists" featured works by painters who championed very diverse styles: in 1921 the House of Arts hosted exhibitions of Boris Kustodiev, Alexander Benois, Mikhail Dobuzhinsky and Isaak Brodsky. But the most significant exhibition was a show of futurist and cubist artists sponsored by the visual arts department in the Myatlev House on St. Isaac's Square, organised by Altman and Punin. In 1921 a Museum of Artistic Culture was created from that exhibition, and in 1923 re-arranged into an Institute of Artistic Culture, as a centre for innovative art scholarship.
One of the important events of the early 1920s was the public exhibition of a model of the monument to the Comintern (Communist International) created by Vladimir Tatlin, a painter, architect and prominent proponent of Futurism and Constructivism, whose workshop was located on the territory of a foundry in the campus of the Academy2. The glass-and-steel monument was destined for Petrograd, and a model made of ordinary materials was put on display in the Academy's building. Tatlin's tower immediately provoked a wide range of reactions. Architects questioned the technical feasibility of this first constructivist project: the "primary forms" inside the framework - a cube, a cylinder, a cone - were to rotate non-stop within different sections of the structure at different speeds. The tower was to house the chief offices of the Comintern, the supreme organ of the international workers' and peasants' government, and a telegraph office. As a part of Lenin's plan of monumental propaganda, the tower was conceived as a synthesis of architecture and sculpture intended to demonstrate a new type of monumental structure combining artistic and utilitarian features. However, this interesting idea was never realised.
The most influential trend in art at that time was Futurism. The Russian Futurists' approach to cultural heritage was closest to that of their Italian counterparts, who championed the "destruction of all manner of cultural traditions". Constructivism was prominent, too: formed within the fold of Cubo-futurism, it took on a course of its own quite quickly. Kazimir Malevich was the most illustrious proponent of non-figurative art of the era. Constructivist artists often spoke out against the autonomy of the art of painting, arguing that not only did modern culture not need it, but that it was detrimental to that culture's development.
The art of the 1920s had a strong focus on industrial processes, which explains why work routines both at factories and plants and in the field were frequent subjects in the period's artwork. Many subscribed to the idea that painters, sculptors and architects were workers just like those who laboured on industrial sites, forged steel or forested timber. For some time exhortations to combine creative work with manual labour were made through the press and in public debates, and artists eulogised the "man of labour", aestheticising his work. It is little wonder that, ten years before the introduction of Socialist Realism, assignments given to art students were dominated by subjects such as "A smelting shop", "At a factory", "At a plant".
A painting and drawing syllabus prepared in 1921-22 is of considerable interest. The compiler's name is unknown, but the programme was obviously used in the educational process because the holdings of the RAFA's Academic Research Museum include examples of corresponding assignments. The creator of the syllabus carefully thought out all stages of the educational process. Freshmen were to create still-lifes in blue, red and yellow, modelling volumes with the palette of a specific colour scale. This was followed by learning about inter-relations of colour scales in real life: yellow and red objects against a blue backdrop, blue and yellow against red, blue and red against yellow. The end-of-year assignment was to depict a "head against a coloured background" exploring relations between natural and artificial light. Second-year requirements included "still-lifes with natural colouration (on different planes)"; a torso against a flat, coloured background; a torso against non-flat objects; a naked human figure against a coloured background; "a painting on an architectural and sculptural surface (two-sided, vaulted, domed...)". In their third year students were to choose a specialisation - monumental art, easel painting, decorative or ceramic painting, or other kinds of painting. The main tutor of the workshop would ask third-year students who had started anatomy drawing to depict two heads against coloured backgrounds, and against non-flat objects; a group of subjects in clothes and naked human figures in a landscape. The fourth-year curriculum included the construction of a composition - students were to depict a group of objects in a still-life; a naked human figure in motion; a human figure in motion in a landscape. Finishing their course of study, the young artists had to submit their works to competition.
The so-called Proletcult (Proletarian culture) ideas were becoming more and more popular. Thus, a Proletcult advocate, professor Vladimir Denisov, who often published opinion pieces in the press, pointed out that there was a harmful disconnection between all kinds of visual art, between "pure art" and "applied art" - a disconnection, he believed, that was a result of the corruption of culture in the old bourgeois world. He believed that up until then, "the old system of instruction, replacing a communication of objective knowledge with a subjective 'gut learning' and aimed at raising 'priests of art', had a detrimental effect on the formation of creativity and the very lives of our artists". The emergence of new social classes called for the development of a new method of instruction, and the analytical method could be the correct one. According to Denisov, modern teaching should be pivoted around disciplines based on scientific data such as colour, texture, form and construction. Only their synthesis would become the connecting link between all kinds of art, and culture would restore its wholeness, producing a holistic and compelling image of the era.
In 1922 the Academy was merged with the former School of Technical Drawing of Baron Stieglitz, and the new institution was called the Petrograd VKHUTEMAS (the Arts and Crafts Studio of Higher Education). According to the memoirs of one of the students (A. Gareva), in that year the school for the first time had a competitive admission process, enrolling only 80 out of 300 applicants. "Most did not have the necessary basic training in art and general subjects - it was substituted with relevant business travel and solid letters of recommendation listing revolutionary credentials or public activities. I believe such documents were given significant weight in the admission process," she remembered3. Students lived in the Academy's building, and conditions were dire. The premises did not have electrical lighting, which was provided only in February-March 1923, and before that the rooms were lit with petroleum lamps. The cold was especially hard to bear, and firewood was in short supply in the city. People walked around in the dormitory wearing overcoats, and all metal objects - the latches and clasps on windows - were covered with frost. The stipend was 9 rubles 75 kopecks plus several kilograms of bread and herring. Some students managed to supplement their incomes painting drinking glasses. In 1923-24 stipends, the delivery of which was handled by the students themselves, were paid in cash only - 18 rubles. Russia was a recipient of aid from the American Relief Administration, and those who were lucky were granted vouchers for lunches with cacao. In 1922 the school enrolled many followers of Male-vich, who had arrived in Petrograd from Vitebsk in that year. They had heated discussions with those who shared the ideas of Filonov, Tatlin and Punin. There was an abundance of different clubs for Komsomol members, with various societies for assistance to the revolution - students were overburdened with public duties, some so much so that they even found themselves lacking time to study.
In 1925 the school had a new man appointed to the post of principal - Edouard Essen, a graduate of the AFA and St. Petersburg University, a nobleman and Communist under whose governance the Academy's museum experienced a brief period of revival. Essen was eager to provide all students with a good education, inviting excellent teachers to lecture in advanced mathematics, optics, physics, chemistry, descriptive geometry, perspective and art history. According to Gareva's memoir, the school was ironically called a "higher technical institute with artistic focus". The first-year curriculum, aimed at identifying students' talents, included all the main fields of art - painting, sculpture and architecture. Students were allowed to transfer from one faculty to another more than once.
Fyodor Maslov, who took over the reins from Essen in 1929, led the school in an entirely different direction. As principal of the Leningrad Institute of Arts and Crafts, he shifted its focus towards technical and industrial elements of the programme. The educational museum, partly restored to its former condition, was closed on Maslov's order, and its collections handed over to different recipients, with many holdings sent to the Museum Fund to be sold. Maslov himself went down in the Academy's history as a trouble-maker, and the term Maslovshchina became synonymous with a period of wreckage and destruction of artwork and the deliberate disorganisation of the art school itself. However, even a cursory glance at archive documents reveals that Maslov was principally a good executor who enforced the decrees issued by the Central Committee of the Soviet National Communist Party (of the Bolsheviks) and directives of the People's Commissariat for Education. The national authorities decided that instruction at the school needed to contain extensive internships on industrial sites, so in the early 1930s students were required to spend most of the school year not in their studios or libraries, but at plants and factories.
In 1930 the VkHUTEIN (Arts and Crafts) institutes in Moscow and Leningrad were restructured: the faculties of painting and sculpture were transferred from Moscow to Leningrad, while that of book design moved from Leningrad to Moscow. Maslov became the director of the newly-formed Institute of Proletarian Visual Art, and one of his main objectives was to recruit students with working-class backgrounds: the school set up daytime and evening preparatory courses in painting and sculpture for workers, with a course duration of three years. Young workers who completed these courses were enrolled at the Institute without entrance examinations.
In July 1931 a restructuring plan for the school was approved, and the faculties were re-arranged to match different sectors of industry. A new system was introduced: design for daily life (painting and sculpture), guidance of amateur art activities (art education and guidance of amateur clubs), design for spectacles for the masses (theatre, cinema, and design for mass entertainment). All this amounted to a radical change in existing methods. From surviving documents one can conclude that the Board of Vocational Training told Maslov to focus on training future designers for industrial sites. When famous artists and art historians learned about the destruction of the museum's exhibits and objected to such developments, they began to publish anxious comments in the press. A municipal commission reviewed the Institute's performance in July 1932 and dismissed Maslov from his post as director. In the same year the institution changed its name yet again, to LINZHAS (Leningrad Institute of Painting, Architecture and Sculpture), and the former vice-principal for academic affairs, Alexander Matveev, was appointed as principal. On October 11 1932, a decree "On the Creation of the Academy of Arts" was issued, and in 1934 Ilya Repin's former student Isaak Brodsky assumed control at the Russian National Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad.
The overwhelming majority of young artists of the 1920s and early 1930s did not leave a mark in the history of art. Graduates of the Academy found employment in schools and clubs for young pioneers and abandoned creative work, which could not provide them with a living. The social composition of the student body was diverse, as was the degree of the students' preparedness. Matriculants included discharged army conscripts, former students of art schools and colleges and the Society for Encouragement of Arts (which merged with the Academy), as well as very young female graduates from the gymnasia. Not all those who enrolled made it to graduation - a process of "weeding out" would take place periodically, and some students were expelled on account of their family background.
At the very beginning of the 1920s Soviet education was dominated by an "objective method" of teaching, which lasted more than a year. One group of professors was assigned to the painting workshop, another to the drawing workshop. Reviewing students' works as they walked between them in the class, they commented on each work. According to one of the students A.P. Golubkina, their opinions were always at variance with each other, which confused students. Having passed an examination in moulding, she joined the general education group and studied under Konstantin Gorbatov for some time. Golubkina's choice of Gorbatov's workshop was intentional since she admired his mastery of colour and regarded him as a very fine lyrical painter. In their third year Golubkina's class was taught by Vasily Belyaev, "a good and experienced leader" who, however, worked "in the old fashion". These young people wanted something new: "The Russian Museum had already opened its section of new art with a wide variety of works by Mashkov, Petrov-Vodkin, Chagall, Altman and others. Filonov was already speaking up and introducing his manifesto about 'made paintings', of which 'each ought to be like the Hagia Sophia'; Tatlin, using astonishingly economic lines, was imparting intense motion and volume to figures; a museum of New Visual Creativity was opened. Exhibits in the museum sometimes bordered on the scandalous, and the artists logically ended up as they should have: walking all the way from a painting to a white primed canvas recognised as the supreme achievement in painting, and in sculpture, ending up with a gypsum cube. In spite of the weirdness of many artefacts, experimentation in painting was taking place. It was clear that this art was the product of brainwork alone, not something flowing from the heart, so it was also clear that everything unnecessary would be swept away"4
Filonov visited the workshops from time to time, and some students left their teachers and joined him. "We sometimes got to see them - their trousers patched all over, they looked haggard, with a vacant look in their eyes. They were creating 'paintings per se'. It was impossible to get into Filonov's studio - everything done there was shrouded in mystery. There was an expectation of public shows. The exhibition of the artists from Filonov's circle puzzled us. We respectfully looked at their huge compositions adorned, with pinpoint precision, with little cubes, sometimes little houses and abstract trees. This was a labour involving huge expenditures of human energy, and completely useless to boot."5
What interested the students in the early 1920s? On Sundays they visited the Hermitage, "... discussed the great masters' techniques and literally sniffed the pictures. Many were avidly reading books on art."6 Poorly educated youngsters from the provinces discovered magazines such as "Mir Iskusstva" (World of Art), "Apollo" and "Zolotoe runo" (The Golden Fleece). In the evenings, after drawing classes, they went to the Academy's library to study drawings and prints. After the Academy's library was closed, senior students patronised the excellent library at the Institute of Art History on St. Isaac's Square. "Viewing pieces by the 20th-century French artists, which was the purpose of our travels to Moscow, where the Morozov and Shchukin galleries were then open, made us think about painting in pure tones, about the influence of additional tones, about brushstrokes. Our pieces had a lot of black in them, and this obviously negative feature of artwork passed unnoticed, our teachers did not react to it in any way. The phrase 'colour scheme' was not used at all for some reason."7
With the arrival of a new professor Alexei Karev, by reputation an artist looking for new ways, many young people enrolled in his class. An admirer of 20th-century French art who used its achievements in his own creative practice, Karev was keenly sensitive to the art of painting, loved Titian and Korovin, and talked about colour schemes. The students listened but could not apply anything in practice - this was the result of their lack of knowledge and experience, and insufficient education. A.P. Golubkina remembers: "Artists affiliated with the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia [AARR] would come as well. They said we ought to follow Arkhipov, Malyavin, Levitan. There was no talk yet about Socialist Realism. They spoke about the art of the revolution. We listened to them and shared with each other our impressions - 'a thing of the past'... The AARR artists failed to persuade the majority of the students. We were for realism but needed it in new forms... The home-grown 'lefties' displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, then situated in the Myatlev house on Isaakievskaya Square, held no appeal for us, and sometimes seemed insulting. We did not need them. We were captivated by the French. The simplicity of the realism of [Albert] Marquet, with his syn-thesising lines against the backdrop of the shimmering pearly-grey colour caused us to stop in front of his compositions. Renoir's techniques with his shine-through varnishes, Claude Monet's light... Van Gogh's letters were like a prayer, you could wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night with them. The magic of Russian icons of the 15th century enchanted us with their inimitable colour scheme and wholeness of linear and colour composition - with the entire appearance of the picture where the artist's impact on the viewer was equivalent to the artist's concept."8
The young people were interested in contemporary poetry and literature as well. When Ilya Ehrenburg read from his novel "The Love of Jeanne Ney" at the Conservatory, the crowd was so big that the police had to be called. Vladimir Mayakovsky gave readings. At the Institute of the Culture of Painting Tatlin produced a performance based on Velimir Khlebnikov's "Zangezi", attempting to translate Khlebnikov's verse into the language of colour. Tatlin himself read out the verse standing on the choir balcony, while several of his students, standing in the stalls, repeated the lines. The design of the "spectacle" consisted of cords and wire used to lift planes of different forms and colours, conveying and highlighting combinations of sounds with colours and forms9. Students had to fight their way into theatres since tickets were very expensive, affordable only to the beneficiaries of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP); they flocked to the university to sit in on Yevgeny Tarle's lectures, to listen to a debate between Anatoly Lunacharsky and Metropolitan Alexander Vvedensky, to watch the touring performances of Vsevolod Meyerhold's company.
Some examples of the graduates' projects give a vivid illustration to the history of the Academy's education. The collection of paintings at the RAFA's Academic Research Museum includes two graduation projects accomplished in 1926, both titled "A Laundrywoman", and comparison of them is of interest - one is by Sofia Pecheneva-Vasilevskaya, while a graduation project on the same theme was accomplished by Alexei Pochtenny (who was in Karev's workshop). Other "Laundrywomen" in that year were painted by K. Asaevich, A. Bulychev, A. Golubkina, M. Dubyanskaya, I. Lapuskin, L. Lerman and O. Tsukhanova.
In 1926, in order to receive a degree every student had to submit a finished composition and a sketch on the theme "Year 1925". For instance, M. Druzhinina created a sketch "1925. The Eradication of Illiteracy", M. Neverov - "In a Foundry", N. Suntsova - "On the Border of Mongolia. Expedition to the Altai. 1925". The assignments were given by the vice-principal for academic affairs V.Belyaev as: "a) test of craftsmanship: drawing a sitter in a process of labour (blacksmith, bricklayer, carpenter, laundrywoman); b) test of creativity: a sketch, theme - 'Year 1925'". The 1926 piece called "A Stonemason", held at the RAFA's Research Museum and attributed to an unknown artist, was in all likelihood the work of Yury Vasnetsov, a student who would become a talented illustrator of children's books (the stonemason theme was also chosen by G. Ivanov, B. Krylov, A. Mordvinova, M. Neverov and V. Chizhov). In 1926, on the orders of the dean, three groups of students (enrolled in 1921, 1922 and 1923) were graduated together ahead of schedule. The students were granted diplomas not for their graduation projects but for "final projects consisting of drafts and sketches of the fourth-year last composition for the craftsmanship test".
One of the school's prominent personalities was Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, who spent much time developing his own teaching system. Yevgenia Blagoveshchenskaya's graduation project "A Street" is typical of assignments given by Petrov-Vodkin. In addition to Blagoveshchenskaya and Yelena Aladzhalova, the artist's students included Yelena Evenbakh and Nikolai Sekirin, as well as Alfred Eberling's student Yekaterina Gaskevich, who, before the AFA, had attended a school run by the Society for Encouragement of Arts. In 1925 Gaskevich received a document about the completion of the course of study at the school for her graduation project "A Figure in a Landscape", gifted to the museum in 2005 under the title "A Laundrywoman". Gaskevich's piece was highly praised by Nikolai Punin in his article "The Competition Exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts": "A Figure in a Landscape" was distinguished by "... a solid painting skill; a balanced sense of surface, sensitivity to colour suggesting the richness of the inner world governing this hand"10.
Although Petrov-Vodkin's influence was considerable, not everyone shared his certainty about the universality of the "three-colour method": "Unfortunately, they had only three pigments. Colour scheme was no longer important, there was a crystalline purity of three colours: not painting but drawing within the limits of every colour - boring and laboured."11 The opposition to the method was also shared by Karev, who demanded that the students paint with colour splitting up volumes into colour planes. The AFA's newspaper printed a caricature - Petrov-Vodkin with a tricoloured flag sits solemnly on a throne whose legs are being sawed away by Karev, who was depicted as a dwarf.
One of the workshops was headed by Mikhail Matyushin, whose advice was to examine nature at a 90 degree angle. Naked bodies were portrayed with colours in contrast with the background and their silhouettes were traced with a "linking half-by-half colour". The tracing lines, finger-thick, were present on all external contours. Matyushin talked about the psychology of the sitter and demanded that the sitter's character be revealed.
Unlike most class assignments produced in the 1920s and early 1930s, some studies are signed by their creators, including A. Troshichev and Yevgeny Yefimov. A native of Simferopol, Yefimov was admitted to VkHUTEIN in January 1929 at the age of 30 and studied in Savinov's workshop. In 1931 he transferred to the department of cinema and in December 1931-Feburary 1932, without a break, worked as an assistant at the Belgoskino film studio. In 1933, with a degree in motion picture design under his belt, he was qualified to make an independent project, but only if he had also had experience working as an assistant in a film crew of a full-length feature or silent film, but he could not find a job to match his degree. Yefimov, tackling an assignment to develop "local colour", made a sketch of a woman's head on the reverse of a still-life he had created as an intermediary student at what was then the painting faculty. Canvas was exorbitantly expensive then, so artists often made use of the reverse side. The museum holds similar double-sided sketches made by the students Yelena Evenbakh and Viktor Proshkin. In the early 1920s the students starved themselves in order to save up for painting supplies.
Workshop inspection records compiled in 1929 afford a glimpse of goings-on at the institution. Assignments in professor Kiselis's workshop were fully approved. Presenting an oral report summarising the first-year course experience, he said that "the objective of painted sketches was to explore the techniques of different media, the red and blue colour gamut, and the impact of light on colour. The short-term (one week) assignments on composition were to fit three figures into a certain space, responding to the modern theme of labour and matching the arrangement of the figures with the logic of the narrative."12 The commission decided that assigning compositions for exploration of an individual colour gamut was quite appropriate. The methods of teaching painting developed by professors Rylov and Karev were approved (Karev gave sophomores assignments to explore the impact of light on an object of observation). It was recommended that Karev's students put more effort into sketching. Energetic efforts were also applied by students in the painting class mentored by professor Vasily Savinsky, who set the goal of "keenly identifying forms". Freshmen who studied painting under his tutelage and sketched heads and human figures were given an assignment "to highlight combinations and interplay of tones, rather than local colour solutions".
Good ratings were given to the educational guidelines developed by Vasily Meshkov, who taught third-year students at the decorative department, as well as the educational guidelines of professor Alexander Savinov, responsible for third-year students at the monumental art department.
The period of disagreements, explorations, experimentation and debate came to an irrevocable close in 1932, when the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party adopted the directive "On Restructuring Literary and Artistic Organisations". Those who were involved in the creative and artistic professions began to be congregated into national organisations, like the Union of Soviet Artists (or Writers, or Composers, etc.), which replaced the numerous artistic groupings that had previously existed.
In 1934 Isaak Brodsky, who two years earlier had become a professor at the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, rose to lead the Leningrad branch of the Russian National AFA. It was the beginning of the formation of the Leningrad school of painting, which would later became famous and include such prominent artists as Yury Neprintsev, Viktor Oreshnikov, Alexander Samokhvalov, Yevsei Moiseenko, Andrei Mylnikov, Alexander Laktionov, Zaven Arshakuni, German Yegoshin, Vladimir Vetrogonsky and many others.
- RAFA academic archive (further - Archive). S. Mozuleva. Foreword to Catalogue 1. Fund 7.
- Botsyanovsky, Vladimir. What did artists do?' In: "Zhizn iskusstva". January 3 1922. No. 824. P. 3.
- Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Item 12. Sheet 2.
- Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Item 13. Sheets 3 reverse, 5 reverse.
- Ibid. Sheet 44 reverse.
- Ibid. Sheet 18.
- Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Item 13. Sheet 5 reverse.
- Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Item 13. Sheets 44 reverse, 45, 45 reverse.
- Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Item 16. Sheet 4.
- Punin, Nikolai. 'Competition exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts'. In: "Zhizn iskusstva". 1925. No. 48. P. 11.
- Memoirs of Anna Golubkina. Archive. Fund 19. File 1. Д. 13. Sheet 44 reverse.
- Archive. Fund 7. File 1. 1928-1929. Item 716. Sheet 3.