Lacquered Fairytale

Russian miniature8 This images, bright and colorful, are the fine examples of the traditional Russian lacquer miniature oil paintings on papier-mache.

Let’s scroll down and take a leisurely look at a few more of those paintings.   Russian miniature5 The tradition started at the tail end of XVIII century in the village of Fedoskino and since then has become the classical style of the Russian folks painting.

Russian miniature survived and thrived in spite of changing fashion and tastes, ups and downs in the fortunes of shop owners and merchants, changing cultural and political climes.

Russian miniature10 Whether or not you like them — matters of taste are beside the point — these are indisputable masterpieces of the highest caliber.Russian miniature18 Russian miniature15 Russian miniature13 Russian miniature12

Russian miniature17

The Oriental motif was immensely popular at the tail end of Tsarina Catherine the Great’s rule, when the art form of oil miniature was at its infancy. It was the time of many wars between Russians and the Sublime Porte — the Empire of Ottoman Sultans.

Russian miniature14

 

Russian miniature16

The history of Russian miniature, from 1795 to the present day, is rich and nearly as colorful as paintings themselves, where sunny-golden and blood-red come together and don’t seem to clash, where sandy-haired princes catch their Firebirds by the tails, where maidens are ripe and apple-cheeked, and the onion-domed churches soar to the heavenly skies.

Russian miniature9

Russian miniature7 Russian miniature6 Russian miniature4 Russian miniature2For those who read Russian and want to know absolutely everything about many generations of painters and schools of Russian miniature that sprung out following the success of Fedoskino’s masters — follow the link Федоскинская миниатюра.

Russian miniature3

Colorful, isn’t it? Many find it breathtaking. The vibrancy, the brightness! Bursts of contrasting colors…

Another collection I want to showcase here isn’t quite as colorful, and not because these old photographs are black-and-white. The photos are nearly a century and a half old. They feature Russian villagers, dirt-poor peasants mostly, in their “natural habitat”, their everyday life, and dwelling and some in their “Sunday” clothes.

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What amazes me is that in the villages like these, amidst poverty and depravity, there lived and worked people who created miniature fairy tales with their magic brushes.

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