The avant-garde is synonymous with the concept of New Art, the breakthrough in art which took place in the visual arts during the first decades of the 20th century in Russia and then in the USSR. Its representatives, determined by the changes brought about by new technical inventions, especially in the sphere of urbanization, were convinced, like the Italian futurists, that they would be at the foreground of social change, new perceptions and shaping of culture. They believed in the new society which would rend apart the class structure of previous ages when its place would be taken by dynamism and creativity in the service of utilitarian and egalitarian solutions. They believed in their mission, the Promethean idea of a new better world, when man- kind would be liberated from all subjection. This social mood was developing in the whole of Europe, but was particularly strong in Russian society in the last twenty years before World War I. In fact, one could say it was a prelude to the war. From this sequence of events came the conviction held by represen- tatives of New Art about their prophetic message of freedom. The actual reality, the advance of totalitarianism, was a bitter epilogue for the whole formation, for almost all the great artists of the avant-garde. Nevertheless, though rejected and often dying before their time, their works remained, suffused with enthusiasm for the new gravitation – belief in the greatness of mankind – in the new, universal idea.
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