Brain Pickings

Vintage Russian Ads

What Dostoevsky has to do with sausage art and bicycles.

Today, we’re looking at that weird limbo of Russian heritage between the cultural zenith of the Dostoevsky era and the nadir of Russia’s current status as the Gas Grinch – namely, vintage Russian ads, the intersection of art and commerce.


From tobacco to tailoring, the collection speaks to a striking resemblance between the cultural valuables of Russian society and those of the Western world circa early 20th century, debunking the whole “us vs. them” notion of lack of cultural common ground.



And while much of the typography and illustration appear to… ahem… “borrow” from their Western brethren, we notice some surprisingly sophisticated techniques rarely seen in Western vintage ads — such as this perspective treatment of type:



Courtesy of English Russia. (Remember sausage art?)

But before we get too caught up in the cultural common tangents here, let’s not forget the other side of the whole Soviet-American relationship, clearly and stride-stoppingly revealed in the Soviet propaganda of the day.

Freedom from the American

We encourage you to play around with English Russia, the second most addictive source of relentless amusement we’ve discovered last year.

via Coudal

Published January 15, 2009




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