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Like all other forms of art, sculpture in the USSR, almost always, was in the tenacious hands of ideology and was obliged to serve the state. In the early years of the Soviet Union, artists were free to choose the form of their work and stylistic performance. However, the sculptures that the state needed (heroes of the revolution, founders of Marxist teachings, etc.) required realistic execution.
Finally, all the ideological framework was formalized in the mid-30s, the creation of a new style and direction in the art of socialist realism. Since then, until the end of the 80s, only ideologically correct sculpture was recognized.
All of the above does not mean that sculpture in the USSR was devoid of talent and real art. The names of Nikolai Andreev, Ivan Shadr, Sarah Lebedeva, Vera Mukhina, Alexander Matveev - were known far beyond the borders of the USSR.
The sculptural portraits of Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Sverdlov are made with undeniable talent and an original approach. It is interesting that at first many sculptors from Europe, keen on the idea of building a new world, tried to get into the USSR.
The sculpture of Shadr, located in the park of the December Uprising in Moscow, Cobblestone - the weapon of the proletariat - is a recognized sculptural masterpiece of the first half of the 20th century.
The well-known sculptural pair Worker and Collective Farm Girl, who adorned the USSR pavilion at the world exhibition in Paris, made a splash in art circles and served as a model for many monumental works of this period.
Military subjects in the sculpture of the USSR are represented by brilliant sculptural portraits of military leaders, as well as monumental complexes, among which the monuments of Kursk, Volgograd, Kiev stand out. Vutetic, Tomsky, Mikenas - perhaps the best masters of this genre.
In the post-war period, several monuments to historical figures and cultural figures appear: Yuri Dolgoruky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, Mayakovsky. Masters Orlov, Kibalnikov, Anikushin - strive to achieve a special sound for their works, expanding the scope of ideological canons and attitudes.
Thaw time contributed to the appearance of sculptures that went beyond socialist realism, however, this art very soon passed into the category of unofficial, often continuing to exist outside the USSR. Among those who were close in ideological framework, the name of Ernst the Unknown stands apart. Today, his works adorn cities and museums around the world. The most famous works are the Mask of Sorrow, the Golden Child, a tombstone on the grave of Khrushchev.
70-80s are characterized by the heyday of easel sculpture. In the works of such masters as Shakhovskaya, Zhilinskaya, Mitlyansky. Their work clearly shows romance, love of everyday life, ordinary people. However, ideology demanded pathos of working days, heroic situations, and pathos. However, many masters managed to create fresh and talented, at the same time, withstanding all the requirements of ideology.
The Soviet era in the development of sculpture is full of victories and defeats. Over the 70 years of the existence of the USSR, sculpture has been enriched by many masterpieces that make up the pride of European art. A huge number of mediocre, but ideologically faithful works have long been forgotten.