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People's Commissariat of Enlightenment [Narodnyi komissariat prosveshcheniia; Народный комиссариат просвещения (Наркомпрос)] was a cultural organization founded in Soviet Russia in November 1917 shortly after the October Revolution, replacing the former Ministry of Culture.

Narkompros was directed by the writer and politician Anatoly Lunacharsky and was in charge of general cultural and educational policy. It contained several sections, including a Visual Arts Section called IZO Narkompros, sections devoted to the cinema (FOTO-KINO), literature and publishing (LITO), music (MUSO), theatre (TEO), education, science, museums, etc. In the early years, partly because of Lunacharsky's tolerance and liberalism, Narkompros maintained a fairly independent stance, but by the late 1920s (especially after Lunacharsky's departure in 1929) it had become part of the Communist apparatus. [1]

Narkompros published a number of journals covering educational and artistic issues. Khudozhestvennaia zhizn [Artistic life], which first appeared in December 1919, was "the organ of the Artistic Section of Narkompros," and covered most of its departments, including those dealing with Museums, Preservation of Monuments, Architecture, Fine Arts (IZO), Theater (TEO), and Music (MUZO). Although it was edited by a board which included the progressive art critic Abram Efros and the radical theoretician Osip Brik, the journal's coverage of the theory and practice of the fine arts was fairly limited. Wassily Kandinsky wrote on projects to create a new type of museum, a Museum of the Culture of Painting, to enshrine the avant-garde's aspiration to establish an objective basis for art, and on the organization of an international "house of arts" as part of the general fostering of international contacts. Lunacharskii and Efros also wrote about international contacts, German Expressionism, and exhibitions in Germany. IZO published, among others, Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo [Fine Art] (Petrograd, one issue, 1919), Iskusstvo [Art] (Moscow, eight issues, January-September 1919), and Iskusstvo kommuny [Art of the Commune] (Petrograd, nineteen issues, December 1918-April 1919). (Source).

  • Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Commissariat of Enlightenment: Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts under Luncharsky, October 1917-1921, Cambridge: University Press, 1970; 2002, 408 pp. Introduction. [2] (English)
See also