The main point of the paper is the changing process of the social acceptations of religious art and the establishment of the imagined Orthodox Christianity as a part of Soviet subculture in the late socialist Russia. Soviet ideologues defined religion essentially by belief in supernatural forces, which was incompatible with Marxist-Leninism. Simply defining religion, the Soviet government failed to deal with religion multilaterally and flexibly in the Soviet everyday life.
Some urban intellectuals tried to interpret the religious culture in the context of academism and aesthetics, which made possible for normal Soviet citizen to appreciate religious art without expressing their attitude toward religious belief, or the Marxist-Leninist materialism. Initially, most of them might not have considerable interest in Russian Orthodoxy; however, they began to pay attention to the Russian traditional religion in various ways, as a historical institute, a cradle of Russian culture and thought, a spiritual mentor, and others. In other words, many people were interested in Russian Orthodoxy not as a religion, but as spiritual, traditional, and national value.
I explore the history and activities of the Rublev Museum (opened in 1947) and discuss the process of the museum’s establishment and public acceptance and difficulties in exhibiting religious art amongst an atheistic society.
Лекция пройдет на английском языке.
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