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Russian poster




The Russian poster is a unique phenomenon in the history of Russian culture. Hundreds of thousands of posters were printed in Russia in the 20th century. Ruling ideology determined contents of posters. However, the poster is of interest today for its spirituality. It brings about the desire of the Russian man to perform before the people. It is a peculiarity of the national mentality.

The poster in Russia has always been a reflection of national understanding of reality and advertisement of lifestyle of the country's people.


The international exhibition of artistic posters, that took place in St Petersburg in 1897, was highly significant for the destiny of the Russian poster.




For this exhibition Ivan Porfirov created a colour poster depicting 'the muse of the poster'. Images of women and children in Russian posters at the begining of the 20th century reflacted all facets of spiritualsearches of the 'silver age', emphasised irresistible beauty of Russian women. Artist Valentin Serov, Leon Bakst, Sergei Vinogradov embodied an elevated ideal of female beauty in the poster. The female characters of Russian advertisement posters are dressed in folk costumes, they are lovely and attractive. Movie advertisement posters created by Kal'manson in Moscov set rare examples of 'nu' in the Russian poster.




Women in russian poster click here



The poster showed male beauty. One of the best works is a poster of performance of strong men Medvedev brothers (1899).

Men in trade advertisement posters were showed with humour and irony.

The Moscov Kremlin was especially frequently depicted in commercial advertisement that indicated the origin of the goods. Posters of international exhibitions and festivals that took place in St Petersburg at the beginning of the 20th century, showed architectural monuments of the Russian capital. The Russian style'expressed national features in posters that used historical plots, stylised ornaments and fonts.


The russian advertising poster click here


After the First World War started in 1914, the soldier that embodied hope for tree future of Russa became the hero of posters by Leonid Pasternak, Boris Kustodiev and other artists. Thousands of works created between 1918 and 1921 turned upside down consciousness of the people, made them speak in a peculiar 'poster language', understand and accept revolutionary depiction and wording. From that time up till the 1980s the poster would always and everywhere accompany people of Soviet Russia. Propaganda works of the civil war period created by Moor,




Deni, Lebedev, Mayakovskii, Radakov, shoved a new hero to the country - a Red Army soldier, worker, peasant. They demonstrate new slogans. The poster by Lazar' Lisitskii 'Red's wedge is the whites' death' (1920) became the peak of expression of the revolutionary idea in the constructivist poster.





The Soviet poster showed to the world its new hero - a symbolic proletarian worker. In the poster by Sokolov-Skalya 'Long live the 1st of May' (1928) a giant worker is firmly holding the banner of the world revolution, raising it above the small figures of running away enemies. In another poster of 1929 a strong arm stops a drunkard stepping into an abyss. In the fotomontage poster by Klutsis 'Let's fulfil the plan of the great works' (1930) a lot of raised hands of workers make up a huge palm, which is a symbol of people's unity and general support of country's plans.






The advertisement posters by Mikhail Bulanov and Alexandr Zelenskii in the 1920s use the method of grotesque to show males. Film posters by Stenberg brothers, Prusakov, Borisov and other artists created in the 1920s became part of world's clasics.

The authors make brave experiments with composition; bring home to lookers the idea of a movie through the portrait of the main character.






 The movie poster click here


 The poster of the 1930s shows a new hero - a courageous strong and devoted to the otherland warrior, pilot, sailor, and polar explorer. The poster states 'There are no and cannot be ugly people in the Soviet Union!'

 According to the authors' intention, hero women of the Soviet poster should be a life example for everybody to imitate. Nivinskii, Strakhov-Braslavskii, Shegal' depict women as active propagandists of the new style in the 1920s and 1930s.






The most lyrical female images were created in the advertisement poster by Alexandr Rodchenko 'Lengiz publisher.




Books on all sorts of knowledge' (1925) and Boris Takke 'Ask for Mosselprom confictionery' (1928). In the works of the 1930s young women together with men propagandize common happiness. They are united by affinity of ideas, joint labour, studies, and sports acivities. Joining the Communist party becomes the highest objective of live. The posters declare - the woman is free of upbringing of children they are taken care of by the socialist society.




 Photomontage became the main artistic tool of young artists Klutsis, Yolkin, Sen'kin, etc. Using constructivist work methods of Rodchenko, Mayakovskii and Lisitskii, they participated in creating some posters out of a series of works for 'Lenin's exhibitions', 'corners', 'rooms', in workers'and countryside clubs in the middle of the 1920s. The poster shows the power of the developing country whose foothold was the Red Army. Military parades and sport marching on the Red Square become the brightest demonstration of the Soviet lifestyle at the end of the 1930s they accompany state festivals and embody people's unity around the leader. The parades showed the firmness of socialism basic and invincibility of the country that is supported by the powerful army armed with modern weapons. The giant figure of Stalin towering over the people masses bacame the major symbol of power in the poster (1939-40).


Hundreds of posters were made in the period of the Great Patriotic War. The first military poster put up on the walls of Moscov buildings was that by the Kukryniksy group. Caricature was becoming the main propaganda weapon in the fight against the enemy.

The posters by Toidze, Koretskii, Zhukov and Klimashin became kind of sign works. By her face expression and hand gesture the woman worker in the poster by Nina Vatolina 'Keep your tongue behind your teeth!' reminds people of the wartime situation (1941).




The girl in the poster by Iosif Serebryany 'Let's lift it!' calls on the fellow countrymen to restore together native cities ruined by the enemy (1944). The posters by Klimashin 'Long live the warrior who won victory!' (1945), and Golovanov 'Long live the Red Army!' recived people's recognition. At present they are embodiment of strength, courage and beauty, the best monument to the Soviet soldier.


The posters ilustrates the legend about an ideal country where socialism has won at the end of the 1940s - the first half of the 1950s. The depiction of the wise leader J Stalin remains the major symbol of the state (Victor Ivanov 'The way to prosperity!')




A powerful figure of the worker - steel maker, builder, lumberjack, - embodies the people-creator. The mother woman is depicted in the posters with a child in her arms. Children of war dream of becoming pilots (the poster by Chudov, 1951). Everywhere the slogan rings 'Young men, right to the stadiums!' (the poster by Golovanov, 1947). The Soviet soldier, who won in the Great War, threatens with a finger to the American capitalist armed with an A-bomb 'Do not fool around!' (the poster by Govorkov, 1948). Colorful advertisement assures everybody of the final triumph of the socialist country. The poster texts go down in the country's folklore.





Young communists (members of Komsomol) andf shock workers take over the place of new heroes. The poster praises youth's romantic ideal of beauty and heroic labour (Savostyuk and Uspenskii 'All my beauties are the best, the whole world will be impressed!'). The fight of man into space in 1961 became the peak of scientific and technological achievements of the country (the poster by Yakushin, 1971). The figure of Lenin is the major national symbol and acquires a cult character ( the poster byVictor Ivanov, 1965). The huge metal one ruble coin symbolises economic achievements of the country (Koretskii 'That's our profit!').


At the end of the 1980s the poster lost its significance in the society that it had retained for a hundred years. Poster authors try to give a moral estimation of the country's history (the poster by Vaganov, 1989).





The young generation of artist turn to modern life. One hundred years after the first Russia's poster exhobition in 1997 Andrei Logvin creates the composition 'Life is perfect!' which became the last masterpiece of the 20th century.


The poster was ubiquitous. It shaped the appearance of cities and villages, plants and factories, military settlements, state institiutions, stores and schools. The poster glorified chiefs and heroes, demonstrated country's achievements and national wealth. It gave answer to any question, was a social and moral landmark. The poster was a truly people's art. Artists created real masterpieces, which today allow us to understand better spiritual strives of the people.


                                                                                                               Alexandr Shklyaruk


The russian poster click here

About exhibition

A retrospective exhibition 100 Years of Russian Poster, organized by Atelier Wolff, presents a representative selection of 120 works from a hundred-year history of that form of art in Russia. The posters come from a collection of The Russian State Library in Moscow and were made available to us by a Moscow publishing company Kontakt-Kultura.more




Atelier Wolff

ul.Szkolna 32

55-002 Dobrzykowice



Jacek Wolff

mob. +48 531 888 745




Jan Bortkiewicz

mob. +48 722144333


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