Learning How to Learn How to Paint (a Portrait)

25 October 2019 • Anna Scherbyna

This work is based on the third volume of a teaching guide ‘School of fine arts’ published in 1960 by the Publishing house of the USSR Academy of Arts:

“This guide aims to chart the path which young artists should follow. Here, they will obtain the basics of professional literacy needed for developing their skills.”

After the Russian Arts Academy was renamed to the USSR Academy of Arts, on August 5, 1947, the government assigned the following task to it: to consistently develop Soviet fine arts in all their forms “by continuously implementing the social realism principles and developing the best progressive traditions of art of the peoples of the USSR, including the Russian realistic school.”

In the 1950-70s, after the artistic education reform, there were many methodological drawing guides issued. They were aimed to assist educators in teaching drawing and painting and help young artists to master their craft. Those guides were created by prominent practicing teachers. Despite the specificity of instructions given in each guide, the principles and methodological basics of a learning process were the same, which implies that the Soviet drawing school is firmly grounded in realism.

Sources cited:
Rostovtsev N. The history of methods of teaching painting. Russian and Soviet schools of painting, Moscow, Prosveshcheniye, 1982.
School of visual art, in 10 volumes, edited by Manizer M., Moscow, Publishing house of the USSR Academy of Arts, 1960.