How to Cite
Karagoda, K. P. (2020). Images of Soviet Monumental Sculpture in Miniature Plastic Arts: Transformation of Functions and Evolution of Meanings. Heritage of Centuries, (3), 13-28. https://doi.org/10.36343/SB.2020.23.3.001
“In Granite and Bronze”: the Monumental Heritage of the Soviet Era

Images of Soviet Monumental Sculpture in Miniature Plastic Arts: Transformation of Functions and Evolution of Meanings

  • © Karagoda Konstantin P. Сand. Sci. (Art Criticism), Lecturer, Krasnodar Pedagogical College, Krasnodar, Russian Federation


The article is devoted to a study of the Soviet miniature plastic arts of the 1950s–1980s. It aims to determine the degree and nature of the influence of political propaganda and agitation on the serial production of small sculptures in the USSR. The author applied a methodology for the study of works of art elaborated by V.Z. Paperny and elements of the cultural approach and the hermeneutic method in combination with descriptive and comparative methods. The materials for the research were works of miniature plastic arts and monumental sculpture, research of Russian cultural scientists and art historians. The author reveals the features of the ideological orientation of Soviet art emphasizing the connection between Socialist Realism and the classical tradition. He describes the tradition of decorating interiors of public places, as well as of Soviet citizens’ apartments, with sculptures and shows that the tradition of decorating the interior with portraits of prominent people had a didactic task as it formed the idea of a role model. The author attributes small sculptures produced at the Monumentskulpura plant and at other Soviet enterprises, presents biographical data of the sculptors who authored both the monuments and the small sculptures. He notes the role of busts and sculptures with an ideological semantic load in the creation of the national “Soviet pantheon”. The author points out that monuments and small sculptures, due to their enormous scale and diversity, can be considered a decisive force in the formation of Soviet people’s everyday consciousness. The choice of the object of perpetuation was one of the important issues on the political agenda. The criticism of Stalin’s personality cult caused the demolition and destruction of his monuments; this did not occur spontaneously, the authorities themselves organized it. These overthrows of the image of the authorities took place almost imperceptibly, leaving no significant response in art. The author concludes that today the objects of Soviet miniature plastic arts and the images they expressed have been desacralized, becoming parts of the interiors of cafes and souvenir shops, performing advertising functions. Monuments of the leaders of the revolution also ceased to be relevant, turning into historical artifacts. Based on the analysis of studies on Soviet culture and their comparison with fiction, the author draws a conclusion about the shared fate of the symbols of power in history.

Keywords: silumin, porcelain, plastic, mass production, circulation production, portrait, replica, Socialist Realism, ideology