Exhibition of Greeting Cards “A Window to Our Past”. Part 2. Masculine and Feminine

F R O M   R E D   A R M Y   DAY

   T O     

                    D E F E N D E R   O F   T H E   F A R T H E R L A N D   D A Y

23February

This special day was established in 1922 as “Day of Red Army” to commemorate the anniversary of establishing of Worker’s and Peasant’s Red Army in 1918. From 1917 until 1923 Russia was soaked in blood and devastated by the civil war that followed the socialist revolution of 1917. Bloody confrontation between the Red and the White armies came to an end in 1923 when Bolsheviks got most of former Russian Empire’s territories under their control. In 1946 the date was renamed Soviet Army and Navy day and kept this name until 1991, when it was given another name – “Defender of the Fatherland Day”. February 23 became a public holiday in 2002. Despite its patriotic meaning, first and foremost, February 23 is men’s day, almost an analogue of Woman’s day which is celebrated 2 weeks later. Men of all age and professions receive presents and greetings.

Soviet Army and Navy greetings cards were available in great abundance until the end of 1980s. These cards depicted Soviet military symbolic achievements and sent a strong patriotic message. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Defender of the Fatherland greeting cards became scarce and printed in a small number of copies.

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Greeting card “Glory to the Soviet Army!”. Artwork by M. Chizhov. Printed at “Graphic Art” (Moscow, 1972).
Worker’s and Peasant’s Red army passing through a village. The major attraction of the artwork is the flapping red banner – symbol of the Red army. Paying attention to the details of the artwork, you may notice the difference in the uniform, or to be more precise, absence of the uniform of the soldiers. The only man in the front line wearing a uniform is Cossack (the first man from the left, riding a brown horse). Unlike workers and peasants, Cossacks as a class did not recognize the Great October Revolution, only a part of them joined the Red army. Cossack man on foreground of the greeting signifies the importance of their support for the “reds”.
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Greeting card “Glory to the Soviet Arm Forces!”. Artwork by A. Schedrin. Printed at “Plakat” (Moscow, 1981).
The card artwork combines all components of Soviet Arm Forces – Soviet Navy Flag (on the left), Navy Jack (in the middle) and Air Force Flag (on the right). The card also depicts main advantages of Soviet arms – tanks, missiles, battleships and getfighters MiG-29. Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR is placed in the middle of the composition.
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Greeting card “Defender of the Fatherland Day’s Greetings!”. Printed at “Cupreous Rider” (Saint-Petersburg, 2011).
The card presents a photo of “Swifts”, Russian aerobatic performance demonstrator team connected with the Russian Air Force, established in 1991. Swifts fly MiG-29.

I N T E R N A T I O N A L    W O M A N’S    D A Y

8March

International Woman’s Day had a particular significance during the first two decades of the last century when the feminist movement was on the rise; however, as in many other countries its importance started to diminish with time. In the Russian Empire, the first celebration of Woman’s Day in 1913 was rather a tribute to the new Western trend. In 1921 International Woman’s day became a special day in a socialist Russia divided by the civil war; it was established to commemorate participation of female workers in the demonstrations which led to the fall of the monarchy in 1917. Final state recognition came to this date in 1966 when it eventually became a public holiday. Gradually, International Woman’s Day in USSR was losing the political and feminist meaning behind it, until it became a day of all women. Another name for March 8 is “Day of Spring and Beauty”. In present-day Russia, Woman’s day remains one of the most popular and broadly celebrated holidays of the year.

 Nowadays, International Woman’s Day greeting cards are available in a great variety of shapes and designs, thought the distinguishing style of a Soviet greeting card became a thing of the past. One of the distinguishing features of Soviet cards was appealing to a woman as a part of society; they all carried some uniting message in them. Often, the main theme of a card was dedicated to moments of spring with melting snow, tulips and mimosas. Abstract artworks of Soviet International Woman’s Day greeting cards made them a universal gift to women of all age and occupation. Modern Russian cards appeal to a woman privately, almost intimately, depicting her personal belongings such as bags, mirrors or clothes, to reflect her lifestyle. Modern greeting cards depict woman as a glamorous femme fatale, proud of her femininity.

 This section presents cards printed between 1952 and 2011, which reflect more than 60 years of celebration.

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Greeting card “The 8th of March”. Printed at “Pinsk Printing Office”. Approximately 1950-1952.
Printed in a small town 60 years ago, this card lost brightness of its colours.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8 of March”. Printed at “Kuntsevo Printing Office”. 1958
Pressed silk roses add elegance to the humble design of this greeting card
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March”. Artwok by B. Parmeev. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1968).
The card radiates the joy of Spring, youth and beauty. Elements of traditional Russian drawing add particular charm to the artwork.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March” (original text is written in Ukrainian). Design and photography by M. Kovalenko and K. Shamshin. Printed at “Soviet Ukraine” (Kiev, 1969).
Mimosa, tulip and narcissus – symbols of International Woman’s Day.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March”. Artwok by B. isaeva. Printed at ”Graphic Art”. (Moscow, 1972).
The whole planet Earth is embraced by th red ribbon on the International Woman’s day.
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Greeting card “The 8 of March”. Artwok by B. Parmeev. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1973).
A figure of eight is formed by women representing the nations that made up the USSR wearing traditional clothes. The Russian woman is placed in the centre of of the bottom circle. She holds hands of a Belorussian (left) and Ukrainian (right) women.
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Greeting card “The 8 of March”. Artwok by E. Dergileva. Printed at ”Plakat”. (Moscow, 1978).
Formed by a figure of eight made up of flowers – a popular theme for the International Woman’s Day greeting cards.
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Greeting card “The 8 of March – International Woman’s Day”. Artwok by A. Lubeznov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1982)
The white ribbon and yellow narcissus send a message of peace.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March”. Design by “Cuperous Rider”. (Saint-Petersburg, 2011).
Two glamorous ladies having tea with cupcakes.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March”. Design by “Cuperous Rider”. (Saint-Petersburg, 2011).
Lady’s bag greeting card with a mirror inside. Terms “originality of design” and “sophistication” are best descriptions for this card.
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Greeting card “Greetings on the 8th of March”. Design by “Cuperous Rider”. (Saint-Petersburg, 2011).
Femme fatale surrounded by a crowd of men.
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A Window to Our Past: New Year greeting cards of Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia

 

Look for it only in books, for it no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind”
Prologue from “Gone with the Wind”

Greeting cards provide a window into our collective past; in this exhibition a set of greeting cards will take visitor on a historic tour of Russia which has faced many radical changes over the past decades: the Soviet red flag was replaced by the three-coloured Russian flag, International Labour day street meetings became a thing of the past, Revolution day is no longer marked red on Russian calendars, it is National Unity day that is celebrated instead. The country itself changed, and with it the need for celebrations changed – and so did greeting cards. Nowadays, greeting cards celebrating state holidays are no longer found in shops, in fact they are no longer in print. Just like anywhere else, in modern Russia holidays have lost their ideological significance and are seen instead as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

 The exhibited Soviet cards are symbols of the past, recent yet so distant, messages of friendship from a country that disappeared from maps twenty-one years ago, soon after the fall of the Berlin wall. Addressed to many relatives, these cards became a real family treasure.

 

 

NEW YEAR

Traditions of New Year celebrations in Soviet Union changed with time. In the period between 1918-1935, 1st January was not considered important enough to be a state holiday; in fact it was an ordinary working day. Starting from 1936, New Year has become the most long-awaited and celebrated holiday of the year. New Year greeting cards started to appear in the 1950s, brining the joyful atmosphere associated with the holiday to every family. These cards were available in great variety, were truly on demand and found their way to each and everyone. Old New Year cards radiate the feel of sincere fervour, approaching adventures and winter magic. Often these cards would include elements which reflect major achievements of the Soviet state such as space missions and hosting Olympics games in Moscow.

 In modern Russia, New Year traditionally remains the main winter holiday, unlike Western European countries where Christmas is the most popular holiday. New Year greeting cards did not lose their distinction, on the contrary, modern greeting cards can be found in an astounding diversity of designs and artworks. However, one must note that something has changed from the times of USSR: New Year greeting cards no longer depict national achievements or characters recognized by everybody.

This section presents cards printed between 1962 and 1987.

Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by I. Iskrinskaya. Printed at “Soviet Artist” (Kalinin, 1962).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by I. Iskrinskaya. Printed at “Soviet Artist” (Kalinin, 1962).
The set of characters – snowman, little girl in traditional Russian festive clothes, little bear, little cosmonaut and Granddad Frost (Russian analogue of Christmas Father) create atmosphere of winter fun and joy.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Boykov. Printed at “Graphic art” (Moscow, 1973).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Boykov. Printed at “Graphic art” (Moscow, 1973).
The card depicts traditional symbols of New Year – three horses and Granddad Frost on the Red Square.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1977).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1977).
The card portrays a girl of Nordic indigenous tribes feeding a deer.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by P. Kotlov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by P. Kotlov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
The card depicts Granddad Frost wearing sportive coat with the Olympic emblem with a ball in his sportive bag, holding hand of the Olympic bear – symbol of summer Olympic Games of 1980. This artwork shows how excited and keen Soviet society was to host Olympic Games in Moscow.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Panchenko. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Panchenko. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
The card portrays hospitality of the Olympic bear, symbol of summer Olympic Games in 1980. Sets of matrioshka dolls create national welcoming atmosphere.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
The smart fox, a popular character of Russian fairytales.

Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by L. Manilova. Printed at ” Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).

Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by V. Soloviov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by V. Soloviov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1978).
A girl wearing traditional festive headgear kokoshnik looks through a frozen window.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by E. Argutinsky. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1979).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by E. Argutinsky. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1979).
Granddad Frost is giving New Year greetings via telephone.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Design by N. Belovintseva. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1979).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Design by N. Belovintseva. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1979).
Famous cartoon characters crocodile Gena and Cheburashka together with their dog, prepared to celebrate New Year.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by O. Zhukova. Printed at ”Graphic Art”. (Moscow, 1980).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by O. Zhukova. Printed at ”Graphic Art”. (Moscow, 1980).
Granddad Frost delivering presents. (Improvisation of traditional Russian drawing style)
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1980).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by A. Isakov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1980).
Squirrel in a winter coat, carrying a mushroom.

Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by V. Chetverikov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1980).

Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by E. Nurshanova. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1980).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by E. Nurshanova. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1980).
Granddad Frost is flying on his sledge powered by three horses. Improvisation of traditional style of Dymkovo toys. Dymkovo toys is one of the old Russian folk art handicrafts, which still exists in a village of Dymkovo near Kirov (former Vyatka). Traditionally, the Dymkovo toys are made by women.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by V. Zarubin. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1981).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by V. Zarubin. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1981).
The card radiates winter sports fun and joy.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by S. Borolin. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1982).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by S. Borolin. Printed at ”Pravda”. (Moscow, 1982).
Bright colours, elements of traditional Russian drawing style and sophisticated artwork of this card instantly captivates with its wonderful festive atmosphere and grandeur.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by L. Novakovskaya. Printed at ”Graphic Art”. (Moscow, 1984).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by L. Novakovskaya. Printed at ”Graphic Art”. (Moscow, 1984).
Granddad Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka on a sledge carried by the three horses. (Improvisation of traditional Russian drawing style).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by L. Semenov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1987).
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Artwork by L. Semenov. Printed at ”Printing office of USSR Ministry for Communication”. (Moscow, 1987).
Granddad Frost in his sledge sliding on sparkling snow by villages. The sophisticated artwork represents traditional Russian drawing style.
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Design by “ARTdesign”. (Moscow, 2001)
Greeting card “New Year Greetings!”. Design by “ARTdesign”. (Moscow, 2001)
Chinese astrology signs gained publicity in late 1980s when it became fashionable to celebrate a year of a particular animal of Chinese Zodiak. Chinese astrology calendar is based on a twelve year cycle, each year of that cycle is related to an animal sign. These animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The sign of 2002 was a horse.