Heroic realism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Heroic realism is a term which has sometimes been used to describe art used as propaganda. Examples include the Socialist realism style associated with Communist regimes, and the very similar art style associated with Fascism.

Heroic realism designs were used to propagate the revolution in the Soviet Union during Lenin's time. Lenin doubted that the illiterate population would understand what abstract visual images were intended to communicate. He also thought that artists, such as constructivists and productivists, may have had a hidden agenda against the government. The artists countered such thinking, however, by saying that the advanced art represented the advanced political ideas.

Stalin understood the powerful message which could be sent through images to a primarily illiterate population. Once he was in power, posters quickly became the new medium for educating illiterate peasants on daily life — from bathing, to farming, the posters provided visual instruction on almost everything.

In 1934, a new doctrine called Socialist realism came about. This new movement rejected the "bourgeois influence on art" and replaced it with appreciation for figurative painting, photography and new typography layouts.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, modern art was condemned as degenerate, and banned. The Nazis promoted a style of art based on classical models, intended to nurture nationalism. The use of modern sans-serif typefaces was banned.

Heroic realism was also used during the Spanish Civil War, and Western democracies have used the style to promote their aims in times of war.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Heroic realism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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