Designers: Tatlin, Exter, Malevich and more Directors: Meyerhold, Stanislavsky, Tairov, and others
Plays: The Seagull, Petrushka, The Puppet Show, and others Visual Arts: Movements and schools during the fin-de-siecle period



here have been only a handful of periods in world cultural history when the theater was the leading form-Athens of the 5th century BC, Elizabethan England, and Russia/the Soviet Union from the 1890s to the 1930s. This web site is dedicated to the Russian theater of Stanislavsky and Meyerhold, Chekhov, Mayakovsky and Bulgakov, Malevich and Tatlin, Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

From the list of names above, it should be clear that it is precisely theater that is of issue here, not merely drama. Of course, there were great dramas written and produced in this period, including the major plays of Chekhov, of Mayakovsky, and of Bulgakov. Much more important, however, was the powerful theatrical milieu out of which these plays grew. Russian modernist culture was nothing if not synthetic. In the first decades of the 20th century, Russian writers, painters, composers all strove to erase the bounds separating what had traditionally been seen as discrete artistic areas. Frequently, a union of the arts was accomplished in the oeuvre of a single person. Thus, the novelist and poet Mikhail Kuzmin was an accomplished and recognized composer. The Futurists Vladimir Mayakovsky and David Burliuk started out as visual artists, and their cubo-futurist poetry marks an obvious attempt to apply the principles of painting to poetry. Mikhail Matiushin was a leading futurist composeras well as an exhibitor of paintings... (Read the rest of the introduction)

Commentary: Andrew Wachtel, Northwestern University
Michael Denner, Stetson University

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Northwestern University

Visual Art ‡ Directors ‡ DesignersPlays ‡  Resources


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