Moscow and St Petersburg: The Fruits of a Century of Torment and Strife

Ref: C3742958

This course explores the rich 20th century culture of the two capital cities of Russia, Moscow and St Petersburg. We see how this turbulent period for Russia of revolution, world wars and Communist suppression yielded a harvest of excellence in fine art and design and produced a unique range of art movements and architectural styles. The main case study focuses on the Moscow Metro, built under Stalin's direction as a showcase for Russian achievements in construction, architecture and fabulous decorative design. The course demonstrates how the world-famous decor and artworks of the Metro proclaim the great history, the heroic figures and the world-wide influence of the Russian state.

Course aim

To explore the art, design and architecture of Russia and its two capital cities through the course of its traumatic 20th century, using the Moscow Metro as a case study.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Compare the impact of Lenin and Stalin on Russia and Russian society.
  • Describe one work each of the Russian artists Ilya Repin, Kazimir Malevic and Wassily Kandinsky.
  • Identify Moscow's "The Seven Sisters", the master-works of Stalinist architectural style.
  • Describe the solution developed to prevent the repeating flooding of low-lying St Petersburg.
  • Define the time of the most “decorative” period of the Moscow Metro, and cite two exemplar stations.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • It would be helpful to students with no knowledge of Moscow and/or St Petersburg to look through a travel guide before the course to start to understand its layout and gain an outline of Russia's history and culture.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • This course provides an excellent grounding for going to Moscow and better appreciating the city and all it has to offer.

Download full course information sheet

Moscow and St Petersburg: The Fruits of a Century of Torment and Strife


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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