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Artists Vladimir Tatlin
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Vladimir Tatlin

Russian Architect, Painter, and Sculptor

Movement: Constructivism

Born: December 28, 1885 - Kharkov, Russian Empire

Died: May 31, 1953 - Moscow, Russia

Vladimir Tatlin Timeline

Quotes

"Not the old, not the new, but the necessary."
Vladimir Tatlin
"The investigation of material, volume, and construction made it possible for us in 1918, in an artistic form, to begin to combine materials like iron and glass, the materials of modern Classicism, comparable in their severity with the marble of antiquity. In this way an opportunity emerges of uniting purely artistic forms with utilitarian intentions. An example is the project for a monument to the Third international."
Vladimir Tatlin
"We declare our distrust of the eye, and place our sensual impressions under control."
Vladimir Tatlin
"Work in the field of furniture and other articles of use is only just beginning: the emergence of new cultural institutions, vital in our daily lives, institutions in which the working masses are to live, think and develop their aptitudes, demands from the artist not only a feeling for the superficially decorative but above all for things which fit the new existence and its dialectic."
Vladimir Tatlin

"In the squares and in the streets we are placing our work convinced that art must not remain a sanctuary for the idle, a consolation for the weary, and a justification for the lazy. Art should attend us everywhere that life flows and acts."

Synopsis

Vladimir Tatlin was central to the birth of Russian Constructivism. Often described as a "laboratory Constructivist," he took lessons learned from Pablo Picasso's Cubist reliefs and Russian Futurism, and began creating objects that sometimes seem poised between sculpture and architecture. Initially trained as an icon painter, he soon abandoned the traditionally pictorial concerns of painting and instead concentrated on the possibilities inherent in the materials he used - often metal, glass, and wood. He wanted above all to bend art to modern purposes and, ultimately, to tasks suited to the goals of Russia's Communist revolution. He is remembered most for his Monument to the Third International (1919-20). A design for the Communist International headquarters, it was realized as a model but never built. It crystallized his desire to bring about a synthesis of art and technology, and has remained a touchstone of that utopian goal for generations of artists since. The arc of his career has come to define the spirit of avant-gardism in the 20th century, the attempt to bring art to the service of everyday life.

Key Ideas

Much of Tatlin's mature work shows a desire to abolish the traditionally representational function of art and put it to new, more practical uses. This accorded with his desire to put art in the service of the Russian Revolution, but also to express the dynamic experience of life in the 20th century. Although this would be more effectively achieved by a later generation of artists, some of whom put art aside to produce advertising and propaganda for the state, Tatlin's work marks an important early stage in the transformation of Russian art, from modernist experiment to practical design.
Tatlin believed that the materials an artist used should be used in accordance with their capacities and in such a way that explored the uses to which they could be put. In part, this attitude is characteristic of the ethic of "truth to materials," an idea that runs throughout the history of modern sculpture. But Tatlin's approach was distinctively shaped by his desire to bring lessons learned in the artist's studio to the service of the real world. That might explain why his work seems to shift from a preoccupation with the texture and character of materials, to a focus on technology and the machine.
Tatlin's training as an icon painter may have been significant in suggesting to him how unusual materials might be introduced into painting, but the most important revelation in this respect was his encounter with Picasso's Cubist collages, which he saw on a trip to Paris in 1913. Another echo of his earliest concerns - one that remains in his work throughout his career - is his preoccupation with curves, something that can be traced all the way from his early nudes through the experimental sculpture of his Counter-reliefs up to his architectural Monument to the Third International (1919-20).

Biography

Vladimir Tatlin Photo

Childhood

Vladimir Tatlin was born in 1885 in Moscow. He grew up in the Ukraine and attended school in Kharkiv. His father was a railway engineer and his mother was a poet. At a young age, Tatlin left home to work as a merchant sea cadet. He traveled to places such as Turkey, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and Bulgaria, continuing his adventures at sea intermittently until around 1915.

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Vladimir Tatlin Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Vladimir Tatlin
Interactive chart with Vladimir Tatlin's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Aleksey Afanas'evAleksey Afanas'ev
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Umberto BoccioniUmberto Boccioni

Personal Contacts

Mikhail LarionovMikhail Larionov

Movements

FuturismFuturism
Russian FuturismRussian Futurism
CubismCubism
ProductivismProductivism

Influences on Artist
Vladimir Tatlin
Vladimir Tatlin
Years Worked: 1912 - 1932
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Varvara StepanovaVarvara Stepanova
Alexander RodchenkoAlexander Rodchenko
Dan FlavinDan Flavin

Personal Contacts

Nikolai PuninNikolai Punin
Lyubov PopovaLyubov Popova
Mikhail LarionovMikhail Larionov

Movements

MinimalismMinimalism
ConstructivismConstructivism

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Content compiled and written by Julianne Cordray

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Julianne Cordray
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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