The severe style is a trend in realistic Soviet painting , characteristic of the turn of the 1950s and 1960s .
The term "severe style" was introduced by art critic A. A. Kamensky  . Masters of this direction were guided by the fine arts of the USSR of the pre-Dalina period (1920s and early 1930s): first of all, the works of A. Deineka and G. Nissky , to a lesser extent - P. Konchalovsky , A. Osmerkin , A Lentulova et al.
Italian neorealism , both picturesque ( Renato Guttuso ), and neorealism in cinema had some influence (for example, the famous painting by G. Korzhev “Lovers” is a reminiscence of a frame from an Italian film).
The main representatives of the "severe style":
- Hero of Socialist Labor, People's Artist of the USSR, Academician Izzat Klychev (1923-2006)
- Hero of Socialist Labor, People's Artist of the USSR, Academician Tair Salakhov (b. 1928)
- USSR people's artist, academician Viktor Ivanov (b. 1924)
- USSR People's Artist, Academician Andrei Vasnetsov (1924-2009)
- USSR People's Artist, Academician Heliy Korzhev (1925-2012)
- USSR People's Artist, Academician Pyotr Ossovsky (1925–2015)
- People's Artist of the RSFSR, Academician Obrosov, Igor Pavlovich (1930—2010)
- People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Academician Nikolai Andronov (1929-1998)
- People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Academician Nikonov, Pavel Fedorovich (b. 1930)
- Victor Popkov (1932-1974)
- Smolin brothers
- Mikhail Savitsky
Artists sang the fates of contemporaries, their energy and will, “the heroism of working days”. Images are summarized and concise. The expressiveness is based on large color planes and linear contours of figures.
Some masters, in contrast to the thematic picture imposed by socialist realism, turned to the genres “low” in the academic hierarchy - portrait, landscape, still life.
Alexey Bobrikov calls the “severe style” of the Soviet Reformation : “He demonstrates the Protestant type of hero - an adult and responsible, with his own experience, personal faith and generally developed internal motivation (and therefore does not need external ideological stimulation from the party- church), although acting within the framework of the general transformational project ”  .
Artists of a new generation, severe style, reflected the meaning of the changes that took place in painting. The most prominent of the artists of this circle were the Smolin brothers - Alexander and Peter . Their joint works demonstrate a severe romanticism of character, and this individual trait merges with the general tendency of the art of that time to monumentalize life experiences. Their painting Polar Explorers (1961) is quite characteristic in this respect. “The true heroism of the polar explorers, the romantic nature of their profession, participate in the work as its deep semantic connotation. The plot is, at first glance, defiantly opposed to the usual notion of both. The polar explorers are depicted in a state of utter fatigue after a long and exhausting work on an endless polar night. However, as one “peers” into the picture, the significance and unusualness of these people leading a heroic life in difficult conditions is increasingly felt, moreover, this heroism is their professional everyday life ”  . They devoted their painting " Strike " (1964) to historical and revolutionary topics. “A new thing here is a shade of legendaryness that informs contemporary acuteness long ago in a past event. The image is characterized by abstraction, non-specificity. Therefore, people here are perceived as all proletarians before the first general step in history. Poetical and metaphorical tendencies appeared in the painting “The Strike” and some later canvases of the Smolin brothers, which soon became a new figurative discovery for all Soviet art ”  .
Pavel Nikonov is another prominent master of direction. In his work, he adhered to the problems of severe style, while combining "a courageous, harsh perception of reality with the lyrical, individual psychological nature of the narrative"  . One of the artist’s first popular paintings is “ Our Everyday Life ” (1960). These are workdays, the image of tired workers, but at the same time, the author reveals the true significance and monumentality of the meaning of the usual everyday life of grandiose construction by means of art - sharp, sharp intersecting rhythms, contrasts of silhouettes, restrained color. In his painting " Geologists " (1962), in the words of a Soviet critic, "declarative agitation is replaced by the pathos of deep spiritual contemplation." The artist changed the system of visual means - rhythmic sharpness, silhouette contrasts disappeared, the color becomes saturated and harmonious, but the images do not lose their heroic significance. His “October Headquarters” (1965) is similar in its figurative and emotional nature to the Smolins' “Strike”, but the composition is more dynamic.
From these examples it is clear that the historical genre attracts masters of a new generation. Helium Korzhev was one of the first to give a modern sound to him - the author of the triptych “Communists” (1957-60), the cycle “Singe by the Fire of War”.
Nikolai Andronov is another representative of this generation. In his early works, he follows the traditions of the Jack of Diamonds , especially the early Peter Konchalovsky.
Victor Popkov came to Soviet painting in the late 1950s. He stood out even among artists of his specific circle of civic, creative activity. His work is characterized by eternal restlessness, lack of well-being, self-satisfaction. The most significant stage in his work was the middle and end of the 1960s. In 1960, his famous "Builders of Bratsk" was written. The theme of the unity of people in labor is devoted to the painting “The Brigade is Resting” (1965), the idea of love - “ Two ” (1966), “Summer. July ”(1969),“ My Day ”(1968). A significant series in Popkov’s work was a cycle devoted to widows-soldiers: the triptych “Oh, how all the husbands were taken to war” (“Memoirs”, “One”, “Northern Song”, 1966-1968), written expressively.
Victor Ivanov devoted his work to the Soviet village of the war and post-war years. In the 1960s, he created the cycle “Russian Women”, combining a lyrical attitude to the world with a clear, clear composition. In general, the appeal of Popkov and Ivanov to the village theme is not accidental: many painters of the 1960-70s loved the village life for its naturalness and simple beauty. This is especially true for artists who have been influenced by S. Gerasimov and Plastov - Vladimir Gavrilov , Vladimir Stozharov , the Tkachev brothers - Sergey and Alexey .
The severe style received its color from different artists. For example, Evsey Moiseenko , already elderly, achieves the expressiveness of the image by deformation, expression, and torn rhythm. And Dmitry Zhilinsky turns to the Renaissance, to the classic of Russian painting, for example, Alexander Ivanov, while also focusing on his teacher Pavel Korin. His “ By the sea. Family ”(1964) - a software product that combines the severity and poise of the composition with the expressive intensity of colors. His "Under the Old Apple Tree" (1967) shows an example of the unity of the concrete and timeless, domestic and symbolic  .
For national republican schools, the 1950s and 60s became a fundamental period for development. The Azerbaijani Tahir Salahov gained wide fame. He writes industrial Azerbaijan with drama as a figurative dominant (“Tank Park”, 1959) with sharp contrasts. In “Repairmen” (1963), Salakhov expresses the principles of “severe style”, the heroism of everyday work.
- Kamensky A.A. "Vernissages" - M. Soviet artist, 1974. - 528 p. Kamensky A.A. Romantic montage. M .: Soviet artist. 1989.
- Alexey Bobrikov. “Severe style: mobilization and cultural revolution”
- History of Russian and Soviet art. Ed. D.V. Sarabyanova. Higher School, 1979. S. 360—361
- History ... Ibid. S. 361
- History ... Ibid. 360—363
- Severe style / S. M. Gracheva // Big Russian Encyclopedia : [in 35 vol.] / Ch. ed. Yu.S. Osipov . - M .: Great Russian Encyclopedia, 2004—2017.
- Kamensky A. A. “Vernissages” - M. Soviet artist, 1974
- Kamensky A. A. Romantic montage. M .: Soviet artist. 1989
- Alexey Bobrikov. Severe style: mobilization and cultural revolution
- Andrey Kovalev. Introduction to the art of political economy of the era of stagnation