A Modernist Memorial for a Classical City: Designs for the Memorial to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad as Seen by Architects and Audience
The article discusses practices of architectural commemoration of the most tragic event in the history of St. Petersburg — Leningrad, the siege. Architects started producing projects for the future memorials in the first months of the unprecedented blockade of the city. During the postwar period some impressive monuments were erected, including one at the Piskarevskoe Memorial Cemetery. There were also dozens of designs submitted to several architectural competitions during the 1950–60s. In the 1960s, Leningrad went through two open architectural competitions for the memorial dedicated to the defenders of the city in the Second World War. The designs were widely publicized, provoking public response going far beyond Soviet standards of freedom of expression in discussing the tragic past. Building on a considerable body of archival materials, the article examines the history of the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad and the shaping of its architectural language. Simultaneously, it analyzes some commonalities of “memorial discourse” reflected in feedback texts. The critical responses demonstrate various attitudes towards the contemporary (late modern) architectural characteristic of the majority of competition entries and various visions of its appropriateness for the commemoration of the Siege. Eventually erected in 1975, the monument turned out to be a compromise between the architects’ and laymen’s visions, between the highly modernist style fashioned by the architects and the expectations of the audience that was skeptical about “Western modernism” and “abstraction” and demanded a narrative memorial with figurative sculpture.
Memorial to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, Soviet memorials, commemoration of the siege of Leningrad, monument, war memorial, memorial architecture
Статьи журнала «Вестник Санкт-Петербургского университета. Искусствоведение» находятся в открытом доступе и распространяются в соответствии с условиями Лицензионного Договора с Санкт-Петербургским государственным университетом, который бесплатно предоставляет авторам неограниченное распространение и самостоятельное архивирование.