The Library has recently acquired digital archives of two Russian magazines. The descriptions are taken from the vendor’s platform.
Niva (Grainfield in Russian), “an illustrated weekly journal of literature, politics and modern life was the most popular magazine of the late-nineteenth-century Russia. It was published from 1870 to 1918 in St.Petersburg. The journal was widely read by an audience that extended from primary schoolteachers, rural parish priests, and the urban middle class to the gentry. It contained large colored prints of art by famous Russian artists. It also had special children’s section as well as a section on Russian classical writers: Gogol, Lermontov, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and many others. By the early 20th century Niva had a circulation of over 200,000.”
Founded by the avante-garde group the “Left Front of the Arts”, Levyi front iskusstv (Lef) was published from 1923-1925. “In total, there were 33 issues, but that short print run inspired entire movements and artists not only in Russia, but throughout the world. The magazine’s pages were truly the battleground where formal experimentation was defended while Socialist Realism ascended. The Soviet era was in its infancy, and people were energized for the possibilities of the future, and these publications reflected the energy of the times. The journals were a forum for intense debate, including manifestos, polemics and critical articles on photography, film, theater, architecture, and design. This is where Sergei Eisenstein’s “The Montage of Attractions,” Isaac Babel’s “Red cavalry,” Vladimir Mayakovsky’s “About This” were first published. Other contributors included Dziga Vertov, Viktor Shklovsky, Nikolai Aseev, Boris Kushner, Sergei Tret’iakov, and more. The journal also championed photography and film as the most suitable forms for postrevolutionary art. The renowned artist and photographer Alexander Rodchenko designed the covers of twenty-four issues of the journal. Many of his photos with multiple viewpoints, tilted horizons, disorienting perspectives, and abstracted forms served as an alternative model for realism, challenging the grand, monumental style that was dominating official Soviet art.”