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By C.Vaughan James

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Like the painters, the musicians sought their subjects in the life of Russia, past and present, and in its literature - Snegurochka, Sadk6, BOrls Godun6v, Khovanshchina, Prince Igor ... Their nar6dnost' was elose to Nekrasov's, especially that of Musorgsky, who might weil have been speaking for the entire group when he echoed Chernyshevsky in defining the purpose of his art: 'Artistic depiction of beauty alone is grossly infantile, childhood art... You cannot get by with just pretty sounds. That is not what the modern man wants from art, nor does it justify the artist's efforts.

ART AND THE PARTY 27 Analysing the philosophy of the Populists, Unin isolated a number of partly conßicting component streams, in particular those whose prime ideologists were Bakunin, Lavr6v and Tkachev. His assessments of them are of particular interest to our theme. Bakunin, like Proudhon, Lasalle and the British trade-unionists was a non-proletarian, non-Marxist socialist and, like Proudhon, an anarchist. But anarchism was a policy of despair, implying a lack of understanding of the dass struggle and neglecting the vital need for education of the masses.

To the Western student, who cannot fail to sense the exhilaration of the artistic experimentation of the times, the protagonists of the new art may seem to have occupied the centre of the historical stage. To such an observer, this was aperiod of unparalleled brilliance, producing ideas and personalities that have put their stamp on world art. To the workers and peasants, on the other hand, much of the debate was incomprehensible gibberish, peripheral and of no relevance to the enormous problems that confronted them, and to the ideologist it marked the final extreme of decadence, when even the elite was mystified and the gap between art and the people yawned wider than ever before.

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