cover image Tatlin


Rizzoli, Zhadova. Rizzoli International Publications, $75 (533pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0827-4

Best remembered as a visionary architect who worked in industrial design, Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953) based his famous model for the Monument to the Third International on the centuries-old Russian tradition of erecting a monument in the form of a building. A sailor, an icon-painter's assistant and a prop-maker at the Moscow opera during various phases of his checkered career, he combined a constructivist analysis of the living dynamics of bodies and objects with a feel for ancient Russian art and ordinary people, as reflected in his portraits of fishermen, book illustrations, costumes, interior decorations, ceramics, studies of female and male nudes. The virtue of this scholarly monograph lies in its rounded view of all phases of Tatlin's output, aided by reproductions of hitherto unavailable artworks from Soviet museums, archives and private collections. The album includes essays by Soviet art historians, commentaries by Tatlin's contemporaries and a generous selection of his writings on ``material culture'' as the bedrock of a new, humanistic design. (Mar.)