Nikolai Nikolaevich Kogout
Russian, 1891–1959
Religion is an Impediment in the Development of Agricultural Technology. c. 1918-early 1920s
Lithograph printed in color on paper
Gift of Mrs. D. Spencer Byard (Margaret Mather, class of 1933)
Photograph by Stephen Petegorsky

The majority of antireligious propaganda posters created prior to the 1930s did not reflect a particular artistic style in the way that earlier Soviet propaganda was Constructivist, or that later Soviet propaganda was Socialist Realist. This poster notably shows the influence of avant-garde art.  Note that the red figure in the upper left is visually free of ornament.  His sleek, clean lines, as well as those of the plough, suggest the technological efficiency of the Soviet future.  The religious peasant is the visual opposite of the Soviet man—he is old, misshapen, and literally weighed down by religious decoration.  This poster posits the idea that the Soviet worker thinks for himself as he moves towards the future, while the religious peasant is mired in the past, a mere surface for reflecting religious beliefs.

Translation
Religion is an impediment in the development of agricultural technology.

            Hey brother, take your caftan,
            and your dome—put them under the shelf
            and take the candles from your belly.  Suddenly it becomes easier
            to reach the plough.