Healthy spirit in a healthy body was the foundational slogan of the physical culture campaign. By the beginning of the 1930s, sports had become one of the most frequently pictured subjects of art. Images of beautiful sportswomen and muscular athletes were widely used by the Soviet mass media. Sportsmen were found on every «collective portrait» of Soviet people; they appeared on almost every significant officially commissioned work, be it a large-scale oil painting for the Soviet exhibition pavilion or decoration in a theater, club, palace of culture, or metro station. They were featured on posters, covers of Soviet magazines, on television news, and even in movies. Soviet textile and porcelain designers widely used sport motifs. In fact, the amount of the sport-related visual material suggests that the images of sports constituted a genre on its own in official Stalinist art. The primary focus of this research is the representation of the sporting body, and the social and ideological forces to which the athlete’s body was exposed. This is also an attempt to position the body of the Soviet athlete in the context of Soviet mythology and reconnect it with the greater context of body representation in pre-Bolshevik and late Stalinist traditions.
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. 208 pp., num. fig.
Contents: Bolshevik Political Religion and Sport – Evolution of the Sport Genre in 1920s and 1930s – From Revolutionary
Ascetic to Soviet Superman – The Body of the Stalinist Athlete – The «Flying» Athletes – Female Athletes and the Representation
of the Female Body – The Nude in the Sport Genre of the 1930s – Images of Sport Parades, Mass Gymnastic Displays and Sport
Competitions – Sport as a Form of Control over the Sexual Body – The Disciplined Body: Sport as Secular Asceticism