Poster Plakat A Collection of Posters from the Soviet Union and its Satellite Nations

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Kostianitsyn, Vasilii Nikolaevich (Kostitis, Vasilijs)
Костяницын, Василий Николаевич
Born 1881, Kalaizin, Russian Empire; died 1940, Moscow, USSR

Throughout his career, Vasilii Nikolaevich Kostianitsyn worked as a portrait artist, poster artist, graphic artist and as a house painter. He was born into a family of icon painters who lived in Tver Oblast, Russia, a town situated on the right bank of the Volga River. Early on, Kostianitsyn (likely born "Kostitis" and of Latvian heritage) was trained by his father and grandfather in the art of icon painting.

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Throughout his career, Vasilii Nikolaevich Kostianitsyn worked as a portrait artist, poster artist, graphic artist and as a house painter. He was born into a family of icon painters who lived in Tver Oblast, Russia, a town situated on the right bank of the Volga River. Early on, Kostianitsyn (likely born "Kostitis" and of Latvian heritage) was trained by his father and grandfather in the art of icon painting. Prior to the October Revolution of 1917, he dedicated himself to painting icons but after the revolution swept the former empire, he focused on graphic art. This decision led him to a position on the Central Executive Committee of Soviets creating posters and prints to embellish propaganda trains. He created and exhibited works with revolutionary themes, including landscapes and portraits that incorporated markers of political change happening around him.

In 1922, Kostianitsyn graduated from the Moscow School of Painting. Thereafter, he became well-known for his posters including: Peasant! The Red Army Protects your Grain from the Enemies (1920) and Quitter! You help the counter-revolution! (1920), among dozens of others. He frequently signed his posters using the pen-name Kost (Кост).

In 1923, Kostianitsyn was one of the first members to join the A.Kh.R.R. [Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia]. An advocate of Socialist Realism in art, Kostianitsyn produced theoretical writings on the subject during the 1930s whereby he related the style of art politically to the Soviet Union. In Russia, his works are held in collections of the State Central Museum of Contemporary History, the Central Museum of the Armed Forces (both in Moscow) and in the Russian State Library at Lugansk.

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Sources & Citations

Butnik-Siverskii, Boris S. Sovetskii plakat epokhi Grazhdanskoi voiny, 1918-1921 (Moscow: Vsesoyuznaya knizhnaya palata, 1960), 274, 275, 280, 378.
Khudozhestvennaia vystavka "XV let RKKA" (Moscow: Vsekhudozhnik, 1933). A biography of the artist is in this catalog.
Izvestia No. 33 (February 15, 1921): 4.
Proizvodstvenaya propaganda No. 3-4 (1921): 54.
www.maslovka.org/=882