VKHUTEMAS – Main Course
Before the Main Course combination, the deans were Baranov-Rossine (1920–1921) and Drevin (late 1921 – early 1922) at the faculty of painting, Lavinskii at the faculty of sculpture; Rodchenko (1922–1923), Istomin (1923–1926), V. Toot (1926–1928), V. Balikhin (1928–1929) were deans of all faculties.
The team of painters, sculptors and architects created the Main Course. In 1920–1923 the heads of the workshops at the faculty of painting were Baranov-Rossine, A. Vesnin, Drevin, Kliun, Osmerkin, Popova, Rodchenko, Udaltsova, G. Fedorov and Ekster. They wrote programs for particular workshops. Each workshop was to solve a peculiar technical problem. Therefore, the “Discipline of Synchronized Shapes and Colors” was conducted by Baranov-Rossine,“Plane, Color and Spatial Design” by Kliun, “A graphic construction on a plane surface” by Rodchenko, the discipline “Color” by Popova and Vesnin.
In the 1921-1922 academic year, S. Bulakovskyi, Korolev, Lavinskii and Ravdel worked at the faculty of sculpture in the Main Course.
The last three mentioned presented their programmes. Due to their efforts the discipline “Volume” was developed, based on the principle of analysis of abstract forms and on the experience of cubism in painting and sculpture.
Ladovsky developed his own version of propaedeutics on the basis of the psychoanalytic method within the framework of the Joint Workshops of the Faculty of Architecture (Obmas). He considered the discipline “Space” as a material of art and a means of artistic expression.
By the end of 1921 – beginning of 1922, the Main Course of the painting faculty practically stood out as an independent unit, no longer obeying the faculty of painting. The representatives of architectural and sculptural faculties (Dokuchaev, Ladovsky, Lavinskii) joined in with the lecturers of the course (Vesnin, Kiselev, Popova, Rodchenko).
In March 1922 as opposed to traditional drawing, painting and sculpture education new curricula of four disciplines (spatial, volume, graphic and colour) were proposed. The studies were organized on the principle of exploring the space by the means of art. Graphic construction, Volume construction and spatial construction were applied on 1) plane surface, 2) in the volume and 3) in a real space.
Subsequently, three learning cycles were formed: color and painting, volume and space; and a graphic cycle, they were subsequently transformed into plane and color, volume cycle and space cycle.
In the summer of 1922, the curriculum for all VKHUTEMAS students was approved.
The minimum of each cycle became obligatory for all students, and in the second year of study, the full programme of cycle was given adapted to the tasks of special faculties.
Since 1923, technical and analytical propaedeutics – “VHUTEMAS disciplines”, was developed, first separately as architectural propaedeutics and propaedeutics of abstract painting, and then as the propaedeutics of industrial art. It was expanded in the field of painting and sculpture to teach the basics of fine art in its realistic forms.
Since the 1926-1927 academic year, the Main Course duration was reduced to one year, and in 1929, six months before VKHUTEIN disestablishment, it was only six months. All the disciplines were transferred to special faculties after the closure of the Course in the second half of 1929.
At different times painting and color discipline in the Main Course and at other faculties in the painting and color cycle were taught by Baranov-Rossine, Vesnin, Drevin, A. Ivanov, Istomin, G. Klutsis, Kliun, Osmerkin, Popova, Toot, Udaltsova, Fedorov, Khrakovsky, Ekster. Drawing and graphic discipline in the graphic cycle were taught by L. Bruni, S. Gerasimov, Kiselev, P. Lvov, P. Miturich, P. Pavlinov, M. Rodionov, Rodchenko, Favorsky, D. Shcherbinovsky.
The discipline “Volume” in the volume and space cycle was taught by R. Iodko, Korolev, Lavinsky, V. Mukhina, N. Niss-Goldman, Tchaikov, N. Yasinovsky, and the discipline “Space” by Balikhin, S. Glagolev, Dokuchaev, M. Korzhev, Krynsky, Ladovsky, I. Lamtsov, S. Mochalov, V. Petrov, A. Rukhlyadev, Y. Spassky, M. Turkus and others.
Based on the article by N. Adaskina VKHUTEMAS-VKHUTEIN // Encyclopedia of the Russian avant-garde fine art architecture, volume III history. Theory, Book 1. – p.102-111