In the Soviet Union, and later in Maoist China, theories of mass artistic appeal were used to promote the Revolution both at home and abroad. In Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy they asserted the putative grandeur of the epoch. All too often, art that served the Revolution became total realism, and always it became a slave to the state and the cult of personality, and ultimately one more weapon in the arsenal of oppression. Igor Golomstock gives a detailed appraisal of the forms that define totalitarian art and illustrates his text with more than two hundred examples of its paintings, posters, sculpture, and architecture, and includes a powerful comparative visual essay which demonstrates the eerie similarity of the official art of these very different regimes.
Igor Golomstock was a member of the Union of Soviet Artists and worked at the Pushkin Museum. He has taught at the Universities of St.Andrews, Essex and Oxford. Robert Chandler is the translator of Vasilii Grossman's Life and Fate, and of Andrei Platonov's The Foundation Pit.