Dance Week: Ballet And The Distant Capital
This is a Soviet-era poster, auctioned by Swann in February. (It sold for $600.) The caption reads, “You can only see this in Moscow,” and the building in the upper right is the Bolshoi Theater.
The poster seems less like an ad for the Bolshoi, however, than for Moscow—propaganda presenting the ideal of a cosmopolitan capital of grace, beauty, and high culture. For whom was it intended? Not foreign tourists, certainly, since they wouldn’t have understood the Russian. Yet to a provincial Russian, the poster’s glamour would have presented a cruelly tantalizing prospect. Under Soviet rule, movement to Moscow was strictly limited, and even today internal passports restrict free migration to the capital. “You can only see this in Moscow” is the promise of life somewhere over the rainbow, ideal but unattainable.