Art, Architecture and History of Moscow and St Petersburg

Ref: C3744205

This course explores the rich culture of the two capital cities of Russia, Moscow and St Petersburg. Starting from the era of Peter the Great, we see how the classical art and architecture arising during the imperial era was eventually affected by the pressure for change from the general populace. Thus the 20th century became a turbulent period for Russia of revolution, world wars and Communist suppression, yielding a harvest of creative excellence in fine art and design with a unique range of new art movements and architectural styles. We study how Moscow always retained its role as the centre of native Russian culture, while St Petersburg drew on the best of foreign architects for its building styles and greedily acquired the art of the great European artists for its galleries. 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.

Course aim

To explore the art, design and architecture of Moscow and St Petersburg through the last 300 years, contrasting the splendour of imperial art and architecture up to 1917 with the socialist endeavour and propaganda culture of the Soviet period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Name the first three leaders of communist Russia, ruling in turn over the period 1917 to 1964.
  • Describe one work each by the Russian artists Isaac Brodsky and Kazimir Malevic.
  • Describe the architectural style of Moscow's "The Seven Sisters", the final series of buildings of the Stalin era.
  • 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 one exemplar station.

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 to each before the course to start to understand their layouts 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

Art, Architecture and History of Moscow and St Petersburg

Enrolment Conditions

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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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