Benjamin Nathans

Benjamin Nathans, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia. He is writing a history of the Soviet dissident movement.

When did your eyes open? Sakharov

Benjamin Nathans, 13 May 2010

In 1957, Boris Shragin, a young art historian, accompanied a group of foreigners on a visit to the Moscow studio of Aleksandr Gerasimov, the president of the Soviet Academy of Arts. Gerasimov had made his name with fawning neoclassical portraits of Stalin and Voroshilov, and used his position to crush ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘formalist’ artists whose work strayed from the...

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