Social realism refers to state-supported art produced in Russia and China through the later 20th century, which generally depicted leaders in idealized situations. See examples of state-endorsed social realist paintings with information from an art historian, critic and curator in this free video on art.
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Hi, professor Betty Brown here. The topic is social realism. Although social realism is a term that can be used in many ways, specifically it's applied to the state-run or state -supported art produced in both Russia and China in the second half of the 20th century. I ask you to imagine an image of Stalin, surrounded by adoring young children, done in an idealized, almost Disney cartoon fashion, but very realistically, almost photographically idealizing the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. That's a social realist painting from Russia, and as you can imagine, social realism, again, almost cartoony - somewhere between cartoony and hyper-real of Mao, also adored by all of his followers in this very idealized state. Both governments, both of these communist governments supported social realism as the state-endorsed art style. As you can imagine, they were horrified by avant-garde transgressions that were imported from the West.