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Russian Theater in the Early 20th Century
Material from the National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg

The early years of the 20th century saw the appearance of many new theaters in Russia, as well as an increase in theater audiences and in the activities of professional critics. Theater collectives and experimental theaters flourished throughout Russia, inventing new and highly individual expressive forms and bringing aesthetic elements of symbolism to the Russian stage. The leading role in these innovations belongs to Meierkhol'd who at that time directed his Theater-Studio on Povarskaya Street in Moscow and the Komissarzhevskaya Theater in St. Petersburg. Thanks to Meierkhol'd the repertoire policy of the imperial theaters of St. Petersburg changes radically. In Moscow the Studio is opened as part of the Moscow Art Theater (later becoming MKhT-2), as well as the Chamber Theatre and in St. Petersburg the futurists show their first theater experiments on stage. All of these theater collectives clearly expressed their own creativity and specific aesthetics.
The Russian symbolists published the journal Vesy ( The Scales, 1904-1909) and Zolotoye Runo ( The Golden Fleece, 1906-1909). These magazines looked at the problems of the "new" theater as a reflection of Philosophical or mystical conceptions about life. These publications were succeeded by the monthly Apollon (1909-1917). Apollon reacted to the more important happenings on the scenes of the capital and provincial towns, but most pages was taken up by articles of an analytical nature, devoted to special problems of the theater: decorations, costumes, scenic movement/plasticity, acting schools.
A specific position was taken in by the journal that was published in the Studio of Meierkhol'd: The Love for three oranges: The Journal of Doctor Dapertutto (Petrograd, 1914-1916). This journal published the cultural chronicles and reports of the acitivities of Meierkhol'ds Studio and also poems of contemporary poets. For three seasons (1912/1913 - 1914/1915) Moscow saw the publication of a monthly of theater art: Masks. All magazines are characterized by excellent artistic content and feature contributions from leading writers, poets, literary and artistic critics, such as M.Voloshin, V.Meierkhol'd, V.Bryusov, L.Andreev, A.Blok, F.Sologub, M.Kuz'min, A.Akhmatova, N.Efros; and are illustrated by famous artists such as A.Benois, A.Korovin, K.Somov, A. Golovin and L.Bakst.

The Importance of the Collection
The Collection includes small editions aimed at professionals and mass publications intended for a general audience. These periodicals provide a detailed picture of metropolitan and provincial Russian theater, and reflect cultural life in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Their pages include theater repertoires, reviews, sharp-tongued articles, documentary materials, librettos, announcements and advertisements. The publications did not limit themselves simply to covering social issues, but also dealt with professional problems, such as the relationship between theaters and their sponsors, or the poor living conditions endured by provincial actors. This collection is a unique source for a wide range of scholars in the fields of history, cultural studies, theater history and sociology, and provides a unique opportunity to savour the distinctive atmosphere of the period revered as Russia's Silver Age.

Main Topics
• Russian culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
• Daily life and entertainment in pre-revolutionary Russia
• Theater in capitals and in the provinces
• Modernism
• Futurism

Subject Areas
• Slavic Studies
• History of Culture
• Art History
• Theater
Screen and Stage: The Russian Cinematographic and Theater Press, 1889-1919
Material from the National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg

This collection contains a wide range of information on various forms of mass culture and performance art in pre-revolutionary Russia:
• Cinema
• Theater
• Theater of miniatures
• Cabaret theater
• Circus
• Operetta

The collection includes unique material such as records of the repertoires, biographies of the actors, examples of audience reactions to performances.

Urban Mass Culture at the Turn of the 20th Century
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Russian urban culture was enriched by new leisure activities and entertainments. In addition to the existing fair booths for the commoners, popular festivities for the middle classes, and opera, ballet, and theater for the upper classes, other kinds of mass entertainment appeared, for example, circus, sports contests, and horse-races, along with cinema, cabaret, and theaters of miniatures, which became a new mass passion. The cabaret turned out to be a serious competition for the traditional theater. Since cabaret performances were accessible to the general public and their content was quite intelligible, they won audiences from the theater and attracted leading actors and other personnel.

Cinema
By this time the large wave of modernism swept across Europe and affected practically all aspects of life, including new public leisure activities and entertainments. Cinema turned out to be the perfect instrument to mold mass culture. Although the popularity of the screen was all pervasive, the universality of its artistic language was limited by the lack of sound. To compensate this, a number of means were used, varying from imitating and parodying films to combining film performances with ballet, theatrical, or musical sketches in one program. A skillfully staged effect of actual presence was also practiced, for example during the tour by Max Linder - the French "king of the screen" - to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev in December 1913. The intense drama of the film came to a sudden end when the main character made a live appearance, stunning and disconcerting the audience.

Cabaret and Variety Theaters
Cabaret and variety theaters appeared in Russia in the 1900s, and provided an ideal setting for artistic experiments. At the end of February 1908, the Bat cabaret theater ( Letuchaia Mysh') opened in Moscow under the direction of Nikita Baliev; six months later, The Distorting Mirror ( Krivoe zerkalo) parody-theater founded by Aleander Kugel' and Nikolai Evreinov opened its doors. These experiments were such a success that they immediately became the fashion. Soon, dozens of similar ventures appeared not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in Odessa, Kiev, Khar'kov, Baku, Rostov-on-Don, Vladivostok, and many other cities. In 1912, there were 125 cabaret or variety theaters performing original sketches and programs every evening in Moscow and St. Petersburg alone. Cabaret mania swept through both literary and artistic circles. Suffice it to mention such famous cabarets of Moscow futurists as Stray dog ( Brodiachaia sobaka) and The Pink Lantern ( Rozovyi fonar'). The symbolist poet Fyodor Sologub intended to open his literary cabaret. Mikhail Kuzmin and Vladislav Khodasevich enjoyed writing musical and theatrical items for cabaret programs. Vasilii Kachalov, Ivan Moskvin, Ol'ga Knipper-Chekhova, and even Konstantin Stanislavskii himself did not mind appearing on the stage of Baliev's theater. Although cabaret culture in Russia remained formally close to its original European concept, it had its own roots. Its stylistic and artistic originality was influenced by the living traditions of intimate gatherings of actors, named kapustniks - literally "cabbage pies", where the actors parodied the highbrow stage practices of the Malyi, Aleksandrinskii, Mariinskii, and Moscow Art theaters.

Mass Media on Popular Entertainment
Starting at the beginning of the 1900s, a large number of daily and weekly illustrated newspapers and journals were published in capitals and provincial cities throughout the Russian Empire. These publications contained the main news related to operetta, farce, variety shows, circus, sports, and other forms of entertainment, and provided insights into various occupations related to acting. When cinema and cabaret spread more widely, news about them was included in these periodicals, thus diversifying them even further.
Several professional publications (e.g., Actor ( Artist) and Actor's Diary ( Dnevnik Artista)) already appeared at the end of the 19th century. They reflected a complex panorama of theater life in the main cities and in the provinces, and carefully recorded all significant premieres, current repertoires, artistic stage tours, innovations, the actions of censors and local authorities, the switching of actors to another stage, etc. Like cinematographic periodicals (e.g., Elektra - the one-off newspaper for cinema, theater, arts, and literature aficionados that appeared in Moscow in 1909), practically all these titles were short-lived. Hardly any of them survived more than a few seasons, and even the most successful lasted only until the new performing arts in the old Russia came to an end. Worth mentioning are Artistic world. Journal for variety theaters, circus, sports and cinematography ( Artisticheskii mir. Zhurnal teatrov-var'ete, tsirka, sporta i sinematografa) (Moscow, 1912-1918), Review of St. Petersburg cinemas, skating rinks, and theaters ( Obozrenie SPB. kinematografov, sketing-ringov i teatrov) (St. Petersburg, 1912-1917), and Theater and cinema. Weekly illustrated publication ( Teatr i kino. Ezhenedel'noe illiustrirovannoe izdanie) (Odessa, 1915-1919).

Historical Value of the Publications
The historical value of these publications can hardly be overestimated. The researcher will find in them unique and still poorly explored material, including records of the repertoires of cabaret theaters and their evolution, as well as the history of various one-man theatrical undertakings and the biographies of the participants. They also contain examples of audience reactions to cabaret performances. Cinema historians will also profit from this valuable material. The publications will help them to define the functional role of cinema in cabaret practice, to establish the similarities and differences, and to better understand various aspects of the evolutionary esthetic convergence of theater and cinema, and analyze their mutual influence.

Rashit Yangirov, Moscow
Early Russian Cinema, Part 1
Russian Cinematographic Press (1907-1918)

Cinema in late-imperial Russia
In a quantitative sense Russia's cinematographic press comprises a modest segment of the general stream of the Russian periodical press at the beginning of the 20th century. However, in the dynamic of its development, the tempo of its reproduction and distribution, it far outstripped publication of all other contemporary genres and directions, and in this fact alone vividly reflected the general popularity of cinema in Russian society. In view of the fact that the documents connected with the history of the early Russian cinema and the overwhelming majority of materials on film have not survived up to this time, these publications constitute a unique collection of testimonials about the general and particular characteristics of the Russian cinematographic press of the 1900s and 1910s.

The art of the new age
The pages of these cinematographic publications have preserved for history not only the first examples of cinema theory, but also a very wide range of reflections of the artistic consciousness of the art of the new age. They chronicled all the variety and individual details of the cinematographic life of the Russian capitals and provinces, recorded consecutively the growth of cinematography in the cultural life of the country. The publications dedicated to the screen carefully documented the dynamic of the development of film production and distribution, traced the actions of the authorities in controlling screenings and noted all other accompanying factors and circumstances affecting the establishment of the new art.

The collection
Examining these sources, the researcher can reconstruct the film repertoire and assemble almost a complete list of domestic and foreign films shown on screens in Russia; he will find in them a detailed description of pictures, reviews by critics, censored materials, etc. In addition, they contain extremely valuable information about other forms of contemporary entertainment culture - the theater of miniatures, cabaret and music hall.
Early Russian Cinema, Part 3
Russian Cinematographic Press (1907-1918)

Cinema in late-imperial Russia
In a quantitative sense Russia's cinematographic press comprises a modest segment of the general stream of the Russian periodical press at the beginning of the 20th century. However, in the dynamic of its development, the tempo of its reproduction and distribution, it far outstripped publication of all other contemporary genres and directions, and in this fact alone vividly reflected the general popularity of cinema in Russian society. In view of the fact that the documents connected with the history of the early Russian cinema and the overwhelming majority of materials on film have not survived up to this time, these publications constitute a unique collection of testimonials about the general and particular characteristics of the Russian cinematographic press of the 1900s and 1910s.

The art of the new age
The pages of these cinematographic publications have preserved for history not only the first examples of cinema theory, but also a very wide range of reflections of the artistic consciousness of the art of the new age. They chronicled all the variety and individual details of the cinematographic life of the Russian capitals and provinces, recorded consecutively the growth of cinematography in the cultural life of the country. The publications dedicated to the screen carefully documented the dynamic of the development of film production and distribution, traced the actions of the authorities in controlling screenings and noted all other accompanying factors and circumstances affecting the establishment of the new art.

The collection
Examining these sources, the researcher can reconstruct the film repertoire and assemble almost a complete list of domestic and foreign films shown on screens in Russia; he will find in them a detailed description of pictures, reviews by critics, censored materials, etc. In addition, they contain extremely valuable information about other forms of contemporary entertainment culture - the theater of miniatures, cabaret and music hall.
Armenian Architecture
A documented photo-collection for the study of the Early and Late Medieval Christian Architectural Arts of Transcaucasia and the Middle East

The roots of the Western architectural art, including early Christian art, are often to be found at the Transcaucasiasian and Middle east crossroads where the Armenian homeland was frequently meeting ground for both ideologies and conquerers. The conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity (in AD 301 or soon after that) added a new dimension to the exchanges, particularly because the conversion inspired an Armenian drive for ethnic identity through the archtectural arts and scholarship.
Editor: Otakar Mácel
Avant-garde and Architecture in Czechoslovakia, 1909-1938

Periodicals and monographs for the study of Czechoslovak avant-garde and architecture in the period before the Second World War. Collection includes monographs by Karel Teige. The periodicals contain articles by international architects and artists like Le Corbusier, Van Doesburg, Mies van der Rohe, Oud, Stam, El Lisitzky, Behne and Neutra.
Early Russian Cinema, Part 2
The Russian Cinematographic Press, 1907-1918

Following the successful release of Early Russian Cinema, Part 1, IDC Publishers is proud to release a second part of this unique collection of Russian film periodicals published during the last decade of the tsarist regime. The collection includes sophisticated, bimonthly periodicals as well as more popular weeklies released by major Russian film studios, distributors, and theater owners. These journals – which contain, for example, interviews with movie stars and screenplays that are now irretrievably lost – will prove an invaluable source of information for anyone interested in the history of the silent movie or in the Russian entertainment industry on the eve of the Revolution.
This new installment continues the exciting series on the film heritage, mass culture, and industry of entertainment in Russia. The collection demonstrates developments of cinematic forms and devices that enriched popular culture in pre-Revolutionary Russia. It vividly illustrates the flexible reception of cinema and its social transformation from a single technical invention into a national art form, and provides an adequate and comprehensible panorama of Russian film culture in the twilight of the tsarist era.

This collection contains:
• A wealth of information on popular culture in fin-de-siècle Russia
• Screenplays and reviews of films now irretrievably lost
• First examples of cinema theory
• A wide range of reflections of the artistic consciousness of the new age

Unique Sources
By examining the materials in this collection, the researcher can reconstruct the film repertoire and assemble almost a complete list of domestic and foreign films that were shown on screens in the country. The researcher will find in them a detailed description of pictures, reviews by critics, censorship materials, chronicles of film production, advertising, etc as well as valuable information on other forms of entertainment culture of the era. Together with Early Russian Cinema, Part 1, the new collection offers unique materials on the culture and history of Russia, which no modern historian can afford to ignore.

Cinema in Russian Society
In a quantitative sense, Russia’s cinematographic press comprises a modest segment of the general stream of the Russian periodical press at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, in the dynamic of its development and in the tempo of its reproduction and distribution, it far outstripped publication of all other contemporary genres and directions, and this fact alone vividly reflects the general popularity of cinema in Russian society. Because neither the documents connected with the history of the early Russian cinema nor the overwhelming majority of materials on film have survived, these publications constitute a rare collection of testimonials about the general and particular characteristics of the Russian cinematographic press of the 1900s and 1910s.

Rapid Growth of the Cinematographic Press
The Russian cinematographic press was short-lived: The “trial” issue of Sine-Fono. Zhurnal kinematografii, govoriashchikh mashin i fotografii (the cover of each issue was adorned with the momentous motto “I'll Show You the Right Way”) first appeared on October 1, 1907, and the last issue of magazine Proektor is dated September 1918. The Russian cinematographic press evolved rapidly during this period of just less than twelve years. It arose as an informational intermediary between film producers and the authorities who oversaw the repertoire and its distribution, but soon outgrew these narrow limits and became an influential branch of journalism that attracted many distinguished authors to its pages.
Cinematographic publications preserved for history contain not only first examples of cinema theory (Valentin Turkin, Fiodor Otsep, young Lev Kuleshov, and others), but also a very wide range of reflections on the artistic consciousness of the art of the new age, ranging from traditional realists (Ivan Bunin, Aleksander Kuprin, Konstantin Stanislavsky) to modernists (Nikolai Evreinov, Leon Bakst), symbolists (Andrei Bely, Leonid Andreev), and futurists (Vladimir Maiakovksy, David Burliuk).

The Establishment of a New Art Form
The new collection comprises a wide range of cinematographic periodicals that were published in Russian capitals (St. Petersburg, Moscow) or Russian provinces (Riga, Revel, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don) in the first decades of the twentieth century. Its publishers recorded a wide range of cinematographic life, including its general trends, special hot issues, and specific local aspects, which marked the growth of cinematography in the cultural life of the country. The film publications carefully documented the dynamic growth of film production and distribution, traced the actions of the authorities in controlling screenings, and noted many other factors and circumstances that affected the establishment of the new art form.
In addition, these publications contain rare information on other forms of entertainment culture of the time – the theater of miniatures, cabaret, circus, and music hall – that had flourished in Russia since the early 1910s.

Specialist Journals and Mass Publications
The Russian film press in the period 1907-1918 is distinguished by its remarkable variety of publications. Some of them focus on general issues of the film business and were aimed at industry professionals, distributors, and theater owners ( Sine-Fono, Sinema Pate, Nasha nedelia, Ekler Zhurnal, Svetopis`, Kino, Kinokurier), while others deal with technical innovations ( Novosti grammofona) or are devoted to the interests of professional groups of film workers ( Akter). From its very beginning, the Russian film press launched a large number of publications that were clearly oriented toward the interests of ordinary film viewers ( Vestnik zhivoi fotografii, Elektra, Kinemakolor, Kinematograf, Kinematograficheskyi teatr, Ekran i stsena). Its very existence demonstrates the popularity of cinema among the Russian population.
The last (but not least) part of the new collection presents the non-commercial cinematography of Russia, which effectively served the goals of general education and enlightenment of lower classes (i.e., the workers and peasants). The“popular readings,” which formed a numerous and devoted audience, were widespread throughout the country from the early 1910s. The magazine Razumnyi kinematograf i nagliadnye posobiia was the first pedagogical journal to attempt to integrate film into the educational system. It contains important data on both the practice and its repertoire.

The End of the Era
The First World War was a serious ordeal for the Russian film-making industry and its publishing business. Wartime deficits led to the closing of many publications, and although new ones appeared in their stead, most were just as short-lived.
War and revolution put an end to the history of Russian cinema journalism. All such publications were closed down in the summer of 1918 by the newly established Soviet censorship. A special publication of Kino-Biulleten became a kind of epitaph for both the cinematographic press and the whole Russian film production. Experts of the Film Committee – which was under the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment – reviewed films of the pre-Revolutionary repertoire, judging not so much their artistic merits, but mainly their ideological coherence, thus defining their future public screenings. For the next seven decades, the cinematographic press in the country was transformed into a component of the state cinema and served the interests of Soviet ideology and politics.

This collection will be published as part of a new IDC series Mass Culture and Entertainment in Russia. The series will offer collections of unique material on various forms of popular culture and entertainment industry in both tsarist and Soviet Russia.

Rashit Yangirov, Moscow
History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art 1907-1930, Part 1
Monographs and Serials

Scarcity
Sources for the history of modern and avant-garde Russian and Ukrainian art have long been difficult to locate. Major Western libraries that conscientiously built collections in history and literature from these regions commonly ignored books and journals concerned with the history of art. Art libraries, too, often disregarded them. The shortages brought on by war and revolution, short print runs, and the impossibility of distribution in the first quarter of the century, added to their scarcity.

Demand
The extreme rarity of these scarce publications and their lack of distribution have made them difficult of access, even in the countries of publication. The problem was made severe also when Socialist Realism became the only acceptable art in the Soviet Union in the early 1930's and materials concerning modernism disappeared from museums and libraries. The resulting deficit in scholarly resources has now become acute as the Western canon of the history of art, the art market, and museum and private collections have expanded to include modern and avant-garde Russian and Ukrainian works of art, and increased the demand for scholarly information.

Remedy
This collection begins to remedy such deficiencies. It offers a wide-ranging assembly of rare volumes and periodicals indispensable for historical research in the history of the art of this area during the first third of the twentieth century. It contains pre- and post-revolutionary periodicals such as Mlechnyi Put'( The Milky Way) 1914-15, both issues of Russkoe iskusstvo ( Russian Art) of 1923, and Radians'kie mistetstvo ( National Art) 1928-1932 from Kiev, as well as major works by important artists, art historians and theorists, such as Malevich, Sidorov, Tugendkhol'd, Tarbukin, Ioffe, and Kushner.

Professor Charlotte Douglas, Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

This collection includes:
Monographs
Serials
History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art 1907-1930, Part 2
Monographs and Serials

Individual arts
The collection includes reference works, memoirs, and books about the life and art of many individual artists: Altman, Boichuk, Chagall, Ermilov, Golovin, Narbut, Ostroumova-Lebedeva, Palmov, and others. Many different groups and trends that bear upon modernism are also represented here, such as the visual arts and theatre in the Proletarian Culture movement ( Proletkult), crafts, and revolutionary art from the Anarchist viewpoint. The serials Iskusstvo i khudozhestvennaia promyshlennost' (1898-1902), and Iskusstvo v proizvodstve (1921), and the conference proceedings, Pervaia Vserossiiskaia konferentsiia po khudozhestvennoi promyshlennosti (1920), are some of the sources for the debates around industry and the arts.

Art history
Considerable attention has been given to art theory as it developed from the turn of the century through the 1920s, including the development of sociological approaches to art. The publications of such major art institutions as the Visual Arts Section of Narkompros (Commissariat of Enlightenment), The State Institute of Art History, and The State Institute of Artistic Sciences, as well as the work of scholars and critics associated with them, are also notable.

Rare periodicals
Perhaps the most significant strength of this collection is a group of very rare periodicals documenting the course of Ukrainian art and culture during the 1920s. It includes, for example, Shliakhy mystetstva (1921-), Chervonyi shliakh (1923-1936), Nove mystetstvo (1925-1928), Zhyttia i revoliutsiia (1925-1934), and Nova heneratsiia ( 1927-1930).

This collection includes:
Monographs
Serials
History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art 1907-1930, Part 1
Monographs

This collection is also included in the History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art 1907-1930, Part 1 collection.