He designed several exhibition display and propaganda for the Soviet Union and experimented with several techniques and styles that set him apart from other artist, in creativity, and later paved a niche for him through the 20th century (Lissitzky-Kuppers, 1980; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum and El Lissitzy, 1990).
Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, a Jew, started as an artist early in life copying and illustrating Yiddish children's books. His efforts were basically aimed a promoting the Jewish culture in Russia, in line with the several changes taking place after the country's anti-Semitic laws were repealed. Starting at the age of 15, he began teaching, a duty that he never strayed far away from, for the most part of his life (Friedberg, 1987). He taught in a variety of positions, schools, and artistic mediums, spreading and exchanging ideas at a rapid pace. The ability to imbibe people's ideas and at the time same influencing them, was his unique trait. This trait was exhibited when he met and worked with Malevich in heading the suprematist art group UNOVIS, when he developed a variant suprematist series of his own, Proun, and further still in 1921, when he took up a job as the Russian cultural ambassador in Weimar Germany, working with and influencing important figures of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements during his stay (Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum and El Lissitzy, 1990).
Also, in his later days, he significantly influenced and brought several innovations to the fields of typography, exhibition design, photomontage, and book design. He produced several internationally recognised works. This continued until his deathbed, where in 1941 he produced one of his last known works - a Soviet propaganda poster rallying the people to construct more tanks for the fight against Nazi Germany (Lissitzky-Kuppers, 1980).
However, the entire career and works of El Lissitzky was inspired by his belief that art should serve the needs of the society and that the artist should be an agent of change. From this perspective, it can be argued that his innovations in the world of art were driven by his resolve to serve societal needs, or affect the lots of the people, giving his devotion to the communist movement (Lissitzky-Kuppers, 1980; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum and El Lissitzy, 1990). This essay therefore, intends to examine the life and work of El Lissitzky with a view to analysing the impacts and effects that the ethical and ideological views prevalent during his days, especially during the Russian Revolution had on his approach to art and design.
To achieve this purpose, this essay will be structured thus: the first section of this essay shall briefly describe the history of El Lissitzky and the rise of the Proletarian Culture to provide a background understanding of his early days and perhaps his motivation. The second section will describe the several popular works of this artist and attempt to critically examine the influence of the prevalent soviet ideological of the time, on such work of art. Also, by looking at how his approach to art and design metamorphosed from the early days of illustrating Yiddish books to his later days in typography, on would gain an insight into how prevalent ethics and ideological perspectives influenced his approach to, and