Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture

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Overview

What can Russian images and  objects—a tsar’s crown, a provincial  watercolor album, the Soviet Pioneer Palace—tell us about the Russian people and their culture?

This wide-ranging book is the first to explore the visual culture of Russia  over the entire span of Russian history, from ancient Kiev to contemporary, post-Soviet society. Illustrated with more than one hundred diverse and fascinating images, the book examines the ways that Russians have represented themselves visually, understood their visual environment, and used visual images in social and political contexts. Expert contributors discuss images and objects from all over the Russian/Soviet empire, including consumer goods, architectural monuments, religious icons, portraits, news and art photography, popular prints, films, folk art, and more.

Each of the concise and accessible essays in the volume offers a fresh interpretation of Russian cultural history. Putting visuality itself in focus as never before, Picturing Russia adds an entirely new dimension to the study of Russian literature, history, art, and culture. The book enriches our understanding of visual documents and shows the variety of ways they serve as far more than mere illustration.

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Editorial Reviews

Slavic and East European Journal

"The dizzying array of things "exhibited" in the book is somewhat neutralized by very focused and clearly structured essays. As if writing for a good exhibition catalogue, each contributor foregrounds the object of his/her research, not his/her research agenda. In fact, Picturing Russia marks the emergence of a new transitional genre, in which sophisticated research methods and theoretical approaches are translated into an accessible academic prose, which is neither simplified conceptually nor diluted narratively."—Serguei Oushakine, Slavic and East European Journal

— Serguei Oushakine

Canadian Journal of History

"This vibrant collection of fifty short essays on images and objects from over half a millenium of Russian history is a treasure box of small and unexpected delights. The authors—each writing on his or her own specialty—undertake everything from the tsar''s famous royal crown (the cap of Monomakh) to late-twentienth-century advertisements. . . . Picturing Russia is a book both useful and pleasurable for anyone studying (or teaching) European or Russian history."—Cherie Woodworth, Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d''histoire

— Cherie Woodworth

Journal of Modern History

"Picturing Russia is a landmark in the study of Russian visual culture. . . . The topics covered offer an impressively comprehensive view since they represent the entire span of Russian history. . . . Picturing Russia is an ambitious and important book." —Alison Rowley, Journal of Modern History

— Alison Rowley

Slavonic And East European Review Vol.88 No.4

"Picturing Russia takes the reader on a thought-provoking journey through the evolution of Russian visual culture, and will introduce many to unfamiliar subjects whilst offering fresh interpretations of artistic and cultural landmarks. Above all, it inspires the reader to consider seeing, as much as reading, when next exploring Russian history."—Emma Minns, Slavonic And East European Review Vol.88 No.4

— Emma Minns

Jeffrey Brooks

"This book presents a tapestry of images of Russia covering the whole sweep of Russian history. No other volume is quite like this compendium."—Jeffrey Brooks, Johns Hopkins University

John Randolph

"I can't imagine a single Russian studies teacher in the English-speaking world who wouldn't want to have this volume."—John Randolph, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Caryl Emerson

“It’s a rare mixed-media book that can imitate in words its own visual principle, but this stunning anthology succeeds at just that: speaking through montage and mosaic. In fifty fascinating, chronologically organized essay-vignettes, averaging no more than six pages each so accessible in a single viewing, the reader’s eye is trained to ‘see into being’ a wide array of Russian artifacts and images from the past one thousand years, raw and manipulated, private and public. These are Pictures from an Exhibition, but as social practice rather than museum art.”—Caryl Emerson, Princeton University

William Mills Todd III

“This brilliantly assembled set of insightful essays come together as a theoretically sophisticated, yet very accessible, study of Russian visual culture. A whole greater than the sum of its parts.”—William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

Nikos Chrissidis

"This is a unique collection of visual resources accompanied by expert and penetrating commentary by a wide variety of scholars."—Nikos Chrissidis, Southern Connecticut State University

Slavic and East European Journal - Serguei Oushakine

"The dizzying array of things "exhibited" in the book is somewhat neutralized by very focused and clearly structured essays. As if writing for a good exhibition catalogue, each contributor foregrounds the object of his/her research, not his/her research agenda. In fact, Picturing Russia marks the emergence of a new transitional genre, in which sophisticated research methods and theoretical approaches are translated into an accessible academic prose, which is neither simplified conceptually nor diluted narratively."—Serguei Oushakine, Slavic and East European Journal
Canadian Journal of History - Cherie Woodworth

"This vibrant collection of fifty short essays on images and objects from over half a millenium of Russian history is a treasure box of small and unexpected delights. The authors—each writing on his or her own specialty—undertake everything from the tsar's famous royal crown (the cap of Monomakh) to late-twentienth-century advertisements. . . . Picturing Russia is a book both useful and pleasurable for anyone studying (or teaching) European or Russian history."—Cherie Woodworth, Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire
Journal of Modern History - Alison Rowley

"Picturing Russia is a landmark in the study of Russian visual culture. . . . The topics covered offer an impressively comprehensive view since they represent the entire span of Russian history. . . . Picturing Russia is an ambitious and important book." —Alison Rowley, Journal of Modern History
Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema Vol 4, No.3 - Elena Prokhorova

"In this short review it is impossible to give tribute to the many superb entries. But the main praise goes to the editors for soliciting first-rate contributions to this revolutionary collection, writing an excellent introduction and producing a volume that is educational, visually appealing and, for the most part, written in accessible language."—Elena Prokhorova, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema Vol 4, No.3
Slavonic And East European Review Vol.88 No.4 - Emma Minns

"Picturing Russia takes the reader on a thought-provoking journey through the evolution of Russian visual culture, and will introduce many to unfamiliar subjects whilst offering fresh interpretations of artistic and cultural landmarks. Above all, it inspires the reader to consider seeing, as much as reading, when next exploring Russian history."—Emma Minns, Slavonic And East European Review Vol.88 No.4
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300164213
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,112,653
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Valerie A. Kivelson is professor, Department of History, University of Michigan. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI. Joan Neuberger is professor, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin. She lives in Austin.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xvii

1 Seeing into Being: An Introduction Valerie A. Kivelson Joan Neuberger 1

2 Dirty Old Books Simon Franklin 12

3 Visualizing and Illustrating Early Rus Housing David M. Goldfrank 17

4 The Crosier of St. Stefan of Perm A. V. Chernetsov 21

5 Sixteenth-Century Muscovite Cavalrymen Donald Ostrowski 28

6 Blessed Is the Host of the Heavenly Tsar: An Icon from the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin Daniel Rowland 33

7 The Cap of Monomakh Nancy Shields Kollmann 38

8 Church of the Intercession on the Moat / St. Basil's Cathedral Michael S. Flier 42

9 Mapping Serfdom: Peasant Dwellings on Seventeenth-Century Litigation Maps Valerie A. Kivelson 47

10 From Tsar to Emperor: Portraits of Aleksei and Peter I Lindsey Hughes 51

11 The Russian Round Table: Aleksei Zubov's Depiction of the Marriage of His Royal Highness, Peter the First, Autocrat of All the Russias Ernest A. Zitser 57

12 An Icon of Female Authority: The St. Catherine Image of 1721 Gary Marker 63

13 Conspicuous Consumption at the Court of Catherine the Great: Count Zakhar Chernyshev's Snuffbox Douglas Smith 67

14 Moving Pictures: The Optics of Serfdom on the Russian Estate Thomas Newlin 71

15 Neither Nobles nor Peasants: Plain Painting and the Emergence of the Merchant Estate David L. Ransel 76

16 Circles on a Square: The Heart of St. Petersburg Culture in the Early Nineteenth Century Richard Stites 81

17 Alexander Ivanov's Appearance of Christ to the People Laura Engelstein 86

18 Lubki of Emancipation Richard Wortman 90

19 Folk Art and Social Ritual Alison Hilton 96

20 Personal and Imperial: Fyodor Vasiliev's In the Crimean Mountains Christopher Ely 100

21 Shop Signs, Monuments, Souvenirs: Views of the Empire in Everyday Life Willard Sunderland 104

22 The Storming of Kars Stephen M. Norris 109

23 A. O. Karelin and Provincial Bourgeois Photography Catherine Evtuhov 113

24 European Fashion in Russia Christine Ruane 119

25 The Savior on the Waters Church War Memorial in St. Petersburg Nadieszda Kizenko 124

26 Workers in Suits: Performing the Self Mark D. Steinberg 128

27 Visualizing Masculinity: The Male Sex That Was Not One in Fin-de-Siècle Russia Louise McReynolds 133

28 Pictographs of Power: The 500-Ruble Note of 1912 James Cracraft 139

29 Visualizing 1917 William G. Rosenberg 142

30 Looking at Tatlin's Stove Christina Kiaer 148

31 Soviet Images of Jehovah in the 1920s Robert Weinberg 152

32 National Types Francine Hirsch 157

33 Envisioning Empire: Veils and Visual Revolution in Soviet Central Asia Douglas Northrop 162

34 The Visual Economy of Forced Labor: Alexander Rodchenko and the White Sea-Baltic Canal Erika Wolf 168

35 The Cinematic Pastoral of the 1930s Emma Widdis 175

36 Portrait of Lenin: Carpets and National Culture in Soviet Turkmenistan Adrienne Edgar 181

37 The Moscow Metro Mike O'Mahony 185

38 The Soviet Spectacle: The All-Union Agricultural Exhibitions Evgeny Dobrenko 189

39 Motherland Calling? National Symbols and the Mobilization for War Karen Petrone 196

40 Visual Dialectics: Murderous Laughter in Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible Joan Neuberger 201

41 Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust David Shneer 207

42 The Morning of Our Motherland: Fyodor Shurpin's Portrait of Stalin Mark Bassin 214

43 The Pioneer Palace in the Lenin Hills Susan E. Reid 218

44 Mikhail Romm's Ordinary Fascism Josephine Woll 224

45 Solaris and the White, White Screen Lilya Kaganovsky 230

46 After Malevich—Variations on the Return to the Black Square Jane A. Sharp 233

47 Imagining Soviet Rock: Akvarium's Triangle Polly McMichael 239

48 Keeping the Ancient Piety: Old Believers and Contemporary Society Roy R. Robson Elena B. Smilianskaia 243

49 Viktor Vasnetsov's Bogatyrs: Mythic Heroes and Sacrosanct Borders Go to Market Helena Goscilo 248

50 Landscape and Vision at the White Sea-Baltic Canal Michael Kunichika 254

Chronology of Russian History 259

Selected Bibliography 263

List of Contributors 271

Illustration Credits 273

Index 277

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