Art and social life: the Russian Revolution and the creative power of idealism 10

Pupils of children's communes taking part in a mass spectacle in Palace Square, Petrograd, 1918

Pupils of children’s communes taking part in a mass spectacle in Palace Square, Petrograd, 1918

 ‘We Russians are living through an epoch which has few equals in epic scale…

An artist’s job, an artist’s obligation is to see what is conceived, to hear that music with which ‘the air torn up by the wind’ resounds…

What then is conceived?

To redo everything. To arrange things so that everything becomes new; so that the false, dirty, dull, ugly life which is ours becomes a just life, pure, gay, beautiful…

‘Peace and the brotherhood of nations’ – that is the banner beneath which the Russian revolution is taking place. For this its torrent thunders on. This is the music which they who have ears to hear must hear…

With all your body, all your heart, and all your mind, listen to the Revolution.’

Alexander Blok, from the article ‘The Intelligentsia and the Revolution’ 1918

Art of the October Revolution, Compiler, Mikhail Guerman, Trans., W.Freeman, D.Saunders, C.Binns, Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1986

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