50 years after his death, the book provides a new, complete and detailed description of the life and work of Ivan Léonidov through a collection of essays and documents
50 years after his death, the book provides a new, complete and detailed description of the life and work of Ivan Léonidov through a collection of essays and documents. It reconsiders his creative and professional career, and examines how it fits into the Russian and international architectural context.
An exhaustive and extraordinary series of illustrations from the Russian archives where the architect’s work is kept, many of which are published here for the first time, give an insight into his designs and the artistic and creative career of one of the leading exponents of Russian design culture in the 20th century. Based on recent research, the book examines all Ivan Léonidov’s designs, from the first projects which brought him fame when he had just left Vkhutemas, the Moscow Art School, to the projects which accompanied his work and research in the 1940s and 1950s. Having won international recognition with his degree thesis (1927) – the never executed Lenin Institute – and rapidly imposed himself as an icon of architecture in the new USSR, Léonidov was the target of fierce criticism, due to his experimentalism and the radically innovative nature of his designs, in the form of highly elaborate graphics. This criticism of the early 1930s marked a turning-point in his career. However, his design work continued intensively and, in the following years, became very successful, developing along lines that interpreted and re-interpreted the dictates of ‘socialist realism’, in a way that was very unusual and far removed from the prevailing form of classical historicism.