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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

4 November 2012

A look at Marxist Theory of Art

Even though Marx had nothing much to say about art, Marxist critics and art theorists argue that art can be understoon by understanding his teachings. The central idea to this theory, in simplest terms, is that art has a social and economic implications; and can be used to confirm or unsettle existing preconceptions where this social/economic power lies. Socialist realist painters take a positive outlook on life, painting every day life and make an accent on showing how one can help their community and shape others to be better. This was the case until the death of Stalin, when censorship was finally relaxed. After this point painters took on darker themes, such as the painting below.

The relevance of this journal is not apparent straight away, however look at this painting by an annonymous artist.

Striking colours. Soviet imagery: long coat, red band to symbolise Red (the Bolsheviks) traditional Russian hat and facial hair. Excellent narrative: the man is looking up to something. What? Implied better future? His dream? The hat and beard create an impression of a simple man, perhaps a farmer, that was caught in the war - fighting for his cause to overthrow the imperialist government. Highly relevant because it shows how setting affects character design.

So I devised an experiment to see how this character would look in a different setting. Perhaps a civil war still, but in a different time period.

This is a quick sketch I made (2hrs max) to illustrate this idea.




Keeping with the key things and elements (particularly lighting and colour) of the original painting I've came up with an original design.

To conclude, the Marxist theory revolves around the idea that art has a socioeconomic impact. I find it somehow relevant to what I'm trying to do; and I will explore further.

Peace out.