Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger (Eds.), Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. xv+284 pp., ill., maps.

This wide-ranging book is the first to explore the visual culture of Russia over the entire span of Russian history, from ancient Kiev to contemporary, post-Soviet society. Illustrated with more than one hundred diverse and fascinat­ing images, the book examines the ways that Russians have represented them­selves visually, understood their visual environment, and used visual images in social and political contexts. Expert contributors discuss images and objects from all over the Russian/Soviet empire, including consumer goods, monuments, religious icons, portraits, news and art photographs, popular prints, films, folk art, and more.

Each of the concise and accessible essays offers a fresh interpretation of Russian cultural history. By putting visuality itself in focus, Picturing Russia adds an entirely new dimension to the study of Russian literature, history, art, and culture. The book enriches our under­standing of visual documents and shows the variety of ways they serve as far more than mere illustrations.


1. Seeing into Being: An Introduction, by Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger 1

2. Dirty Old Books, by Simon Franklin 12

3. Visualizing and Illustrating Early Rus Housing, by David M. Goldfrank 17    .

4. The Crosier of St. Stefan of Perm, by A. V Chernetsov 21

5. Sixteenth-Century Muscovite Cavalrymen, by Donald Ostrowski 28

6. Blessed Is the Host of the Heavenly Tsar: An Icon from the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, by Daniel Rowland 33

7. The Cap of Monomakh, by Nancy Shields Kollmann 38

8.  Church of the Intercession on the Moat/St. Basil's Cathedral, by Michael S. Flier 42

9.  Mapping Serfdom: Peasant Dwellings on Seventeenth-Century Litigation Maps, by Valerie A. Kivelson 47

10. From Tsar to Emperor: Portraits of Aleksei and Peter I, by Lindsey Hughes 51

11. The Russian Round Table: Aleksei Zubov's Depiction of the Marriage of His Royal Highness, Peter the First, Autocrat of All the Russias, by Ernest A. Zitser 57

12.  An Icon of Female Authority: The St. Catherine Image of 1721, by Gary Marker 63

13. Conspicuous Consumption at the Court of Catherine the Great: Count Zakhar Chernyshev's Snuffbox, by Douglas Smith 67

14. Moving Pictures: The Optics of Serfdom on the Russian Estate, by Thomas Newlin 71

15.  Neither Nobles nor Peasants: Plain Painting and the Emergence of the Merchant Estate, by David L. Ransel 76

16.  Circles on a Square: The Heart of St. Petersburg Culture in the Early Nineteenth Century, by Richard Stites 81

17. Alexander Ivanov's Appearance of Christ to the People, by Laura Engelstein 86

18. Lubki of Emancipation, by Richard Wortman 90

19. Folk Art and Social Ritual, by Alison Hilton 96

20. Personal and Imperial: Fyodor Vasiliev's In the Crimean Mountains, by Christopher Ely 100

21. Shop Signs, Monuments, Souvenirs: Views of the Empire in Everyday Life, by Willard Sunderland 104

22.  The Storming ofKars, by Stephen M. Norris 109

23. A. O. Karelin and Provincial Bourgeois Photography, by Catherine Evtuhov 113

24.  European Fashion in Russia, by Christine Ruane 119

25. The Savior on the Waters Church War Memorial in St. Petersburg, by Nadieszda Kizenko 124

26. Workers in Suits: Performing the Self, by Mark D. Steinberg 128

27. Visualizing Masculinity: The Male Sex That Was Not One in Fin-de-Siecle Russia, by Louise McReynolds 133

28. Pictographs of Power: The 500-Ruble Note of 1912, by James Cracraft 139

29. Visualizing 1917, by William G. Rosenberg 142    

30. Looking at Tatlin's Stove, by Christina Kiaer 148

31. Soviet Images of Jehovah in the 1920s, by Robert Weinberg 152

32. National Types, by Francine Hirsch 157

33- Envisioning Empire: Veils and Visual Revolution in Soviet Central Asia, by Douglas Northrop 162

34. The Visual Economy of Forced Labor: Alexander Rodchenko and the White Sea-Baltic Canal, by Erika Wolf 168

35. The Cinematic Pastoral of the 1930s, by Emma Widdis 175

36.  Portrait of Lenin: Carpets and National Culture in Soviet Turkmenistan, by Adrienne Edgar 181

37. The Moscow Metro, by Mike O'Mahony 185

38. The Soviet Spectacle: The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, by Evgeny Dobrenko 189

39.  Motherland Calling? National Symbols and the Mobilization for War, by Karen Petrone 196

40. Visual Dialectics: Murderous Laughter in Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, by Joan Neuberger 201

41. Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust, by David Shneer 207

42.  The Morning of Our Motherland: Fyodor Shurpin's Portrait of Stalin, byMarkBassin 214

43. The Pioneer Palace in the Lenin Hills, by Susan E. Reid 218

44. Mikhail Romm's Ordinary Fascism, by Josephine Woll 224

45. Solaris and the White, White Screen, by Lilya Kaganovsky 230

46.  After Malevich—Variations on the Return to the Black Square, by Jane A. Sharp 233

47.  Imagining Soviet Rock: Akvarium's Triangle, by Polly McMichael 239

48.  Keeping the Ancient Piety: Old Believers and Contemporary Society, by Roy R. Robson and Elena B. Smilianskaia 243

49. Viktor Vasnetsov s Bogatyrs: Mythic Heroes and Sacrosanct Borders Go to Market, by Helena Goscilo 248

50. Landscape and Vision at the White Sea-Baltic Canal, by Michael Kunichika

254 Chronology of Russian History 259 Selected Bibliography 263 List of Contributors 271 Illustration Credits 273 Index 277 Color illustrations follow page 108