PRINT January 2018


Naum Kleiman’s Eisenstein on Paper

Sergei Eisenstein’s 1942 sketch for the scene of repentance for Ivan the Terrible.

Eisenstein on Paper: Graphic Works by the Master of Film, by Naum Kleiman. London: Thames & Hudson, 2017. 320 pages.

IN HIS MEMOIR, Beyond the Stars, Sergei Eisenstein opens the chapter devoted to his drawings with an admission that is both candid and deeply ironic: “In the first place, I never learned to draw.” His formal art education was, indeed, limited. More important, however, over the course of his life, the Russian director actively tried to unlearn academic “rules,” seeking to develop his own, more authentic way of creating pictures, and to reconceive the role drawing played in his theorization of works of art. How he succeeded is the subject of Naum Kleiman’s sumptuously illustrated and impressively argued book.

An enthusiastic amateur draftsman since childhood, the director of Battleship Potemkin (1925) discovered in drawing a lifelong, if for many reasons private, passion.

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