L. Ya. Suprun
Lacquer Miniature Fedoskino
(illustrations will be added soon)
Fedoskino, a small village not far from Moscow, is standing beautifully on the both sides of the cold spring river Ucha. Its houses are decorated with carved casings, front-gardens and vegetable gardens. Surrounded by ancient lime trees the contemporary residential buildings are standing without towering too high over Fedoskino's hill, not even disturbing the beauty of a usual rural landscape. In the very center of the village there is a contemporary light building in which the Fedoskino Order "Sign of Honor" factory of the miniature painting is located. Yes, it turns out there are factories where pipes don't smoke and the noise of machinery can't be heard. The factory has its own engineers and masters, its own technologies and its own technical control department, but the most important person at this factory is the painter, for only by means of his talent and his work can there be created the most important, for the sake of which this enterprise was established and has existed for almost two hundred years. The manufacturing employees of this factory, almost a work force of five hundred painters and masters, are unusual as its production is unusual and unique as well - lacquer products with the original Fedoskino miniature painting are known and admired throughout the world.
The group of Fedoskino painters is the pride of our national decorative art. Their work has received many awards, diplomas, and deeds in our country and abroad. Among the masters there are members of the Union of Artists of the USSR, distinguished painters of RSFSR, laureates of I. E. Repin State Award of RSFSR, laureates of Lenin Komsomol Award, and holders of the Distinguished Order. The title of national painter of RSFSR was awarded in 1985 to the painter p. 6 G. I. Larishev. Members of Fedoskino painters' guild are indispensable participants of all major exhibitions of folk art in our country and abroad.
Fedoskino lacquer products, what are they, what is their beauty, why do they exist in our lives for almost two centuries? In everyday life we need little things but they are very necessary items like boxes, cases for letters or crafts, cups for pencils or brushes, tea-caddies, powder-cases, and notebooks. These items in the majority of cases are so unpretentious and unskillful, yet loyally serving us they almost don't catch attention. Very often we can't remember their color or form, and only approximately do we know their size.
But maybe as a present a small lacquer casket decorated with miniature painting appears one day in our house and we are told that this is p.7 a product of Fedoskino masters. Carefully taking the present we attentively examine it, our hands stroke its shiny lacquer surface, our eyes look close at the image on the lid of the box. We want to turn its different sides to the light, open and close again. With this thing, so beautiful and elegant, it feels like a holiday comes into our house. The small casket not only reminds us of friends who carefully and with love chose this present but it makes us glad with its beauty of shape, fineness of calligraphic golden ornament, brightness, and light carried colors of the picturesque miniature.
The thing given to us is amazingly well "done". It is light and at the same time very durable, its black lacquer surface is impeccably polished. Inside the box is painted with bright red enamel, and the lid is so skillfully fitted that the little hinges by which it is attached are almost unseen.
What are the materials from which Fedoskino people create their lacquered paper-mâché products?
Once they were called paper because the base for paper-mâché is a well glued paper mass. The technology of their manufacturing has not changed much. The process of manufacturing a contemporary Fedoskino product begins with the creation of its smooth form. The level of sculptural expressiveness depends on the experience, skill, and artistic flair of the masters. This long process begins with wrapping and envelopment of special blanks, creating the right form with strips of wooden paperboard. The prepared frame of the product is glued under pressure, a bottom is attached to it, P. 8 and a lid is fitted. A big chest or a small box is boiled thoroughly in linseed oil, then it is dried several times, covered with putty and primer. Coating with lacquer indispensably drying of each coating with Fedoskino technology is counted no less then sixteen times. In only two months after the beginning of work the product gets to be painted by a miniature-painter.
He takes the responsibility of the creative work from people performing the wrapping, sawing, turning, and polishing that made the product solid, beautiful, and sculpturally expressive.
However, an uninitiated person who admires the work of masters creating forms of Fedoskino products can think that this process is too complex and laborious. Why not use such a material as lacquered wood instead of paper-mâché? Such experiments took place but they only proved that wood is not solid enough base for such a precious painting as the Fedoskino miniature. The excellent undamaged state of many lacquered two hundred year old products kept in our museums says a lot about the solidity of paper-mâché. Once I heard a story about how one old master accidentally dropped a lacquered cigar-case with painting into a freshly dug up well. When this well was being cleaned 20 years later the cigar-case was found safe and sound. Neither time nor water had changed it. Fedoskino people love their traditional material for this durability, easiness of processing, and for the possibility to create different shapes of products.
The smoothness of Fedoskino products is inseparable from a happy multi-colored miniature painting, which decorates them, as it is from the finest golden ornament.
P. 9 What is the content of the Fedoskino miniature, what subjects attract masters, and what do they tell our contemporary?
Themes and subjects of the Fedoskino miniatures are extremely diverse as well as creative hand and passion of miniature-painters. Some masters paint traditional Fedoskino compositions: "tea-drinking", "troikas", and scenes of rural holidays. However, some give preference to landscape, yet others see their task in actual creation of miniature portraits, the fourth group is charmed by thin refined golden designs against a background of black shiny lacquer.
One of the most beautiful places around Moscow is Fedoskino and its outskirts which is captured by Fedoskino painters in winter, spring, and in summer with delicate feelings of a "nature mood". P. 10 On one of the caskets we see a scene of fall woods near Moscow as though fused within the lacquered surface. As golden giants thickset oaks rise from the morning foggy haze. The picture is at the same time simple and many times seen but recreated by the hand of a Fedoskino painter, it is transformed: it has the tenderness of the painter's memory of childhood, before its solemnity and imperishability, and the amazement before the beauty of native nature, and the light fall sadness.
Landscapes of Fedoskino painters not only reveal man's feelings through the image of nature, but also show the man himself, and his life surrounded by nature. P. 11 These are painters themselves drawing sketches from life, tourists walking on the path in the forest, mushroom hunters, and skiers. In the winter landscapes there are often scenes of riding on sledges, troikas, skating, and scenes of vivid winter holidays. Field working and haymaking are depicted quite often in the miniatures. The painter is equally interested in nature's life and in people's life, sometimes he goes from just a landscape to a genre-landscape. People stop being just figures enlivening the landscape panorama (so called staffage) but fully enter the narration.
Among the Fedoskino masters' products it is possible to also see city landscapes. Some examples include views of Moscow streets and alleys, also colorful and festive panoramas of Moscow Kremlin. Miniaturists are also attracted to scenes from national history and Russian national folklore, such as fairy tales, bylinas (Russian epics), and folk song.
The Fedoskino miniature lives in the close connection with many fields of the national graphic art: easel painting, graphics, and folk art. P. 12 Creative copying of the best works of national and West European painting was a distinctive feature of the Fedoskino masters' art since old times.
By buying a Fedoskino casket or chest you can become an owner of a wonderful copy of "Heroes" by Vasnecov or a masterpiece "Rooks have come" by Savrasov, a landscape by I. I. Shishkin or a genre-painting by P. A. Fedotov, paintings by K. P. Brullova and by many other masters.
Creative copying is a special genre of the Fedoskino painters' work. Any other painters of the other lacquered styles can't do such copies. And it is not surprising. Fedoskino painters successfully copy masterpieces of Russian classic painting because they feel and understand the system of expressive means of the easel painting. Fedoskino painters just as Russian P. 13 portraitist, landscape painters, and genre masters paint their compositions with oil-paint using two main ways of applying it on the priming surface: semi-transparent glaze painting and thick framing painting, when each of the following coat of painting covers the previous. Fedoskino painters use the same rules of construction pertaining to the realm of light and air and a linear perspective as easel painters.
Fedoskino is called the homeland of Russian lacquers not without a reason. It is the oldest manufacture of this kind among all that exist. It began with a factory founded in 1795 by P. I. Korobov and is 200 years old.
Other lacquer manufactures (Palekh and Kholuy in the Ivanovo region and Mstera in the Vladimir region) had formed much later, in 1920s-1930s, on the base of local icon-painting businesses known since the 15th-17th centuries.
Here we encounter a paradoxical and interesting historical situation. The artistic tradition of these younger then Fedoskino manufactures turns out to be much more ancient then the tradition that is the base for the art of the first lacquer center.
Artists of these businesses started to paint miniatures on a new unfamiliar to them material called lacquered paper-mâché using tempera paints mixed with an egg yolk as it was made before to paint icons with. That is how the experience of Fedoskino painters in making the forms of products unites with the traditional mastery of painters who maintained the techniques of the ancient Russian miniature painterly.
When comparing the Fedoskino miniatures with, for example, Palekh works it is impossible not to see the differences in their P. 14 painting language. In the Palekh miniature the space is shown more conditionally, but the black lacquered background has more decorative meaning as if joining together separate pieces of the narration. In a special Palekh way the master paints people's figures: they are accentually elegant, visually light, and as if rhythmically connected with one melody. The distinctions of the Palekh miniature are stormy movements in such compositions as "troikas" and "battles", special decorative soundings of color, exposure of smooth volume by means of a golden stroke, called "assist" in the iconography.
The range of ideas and images that concerns the Fedoskino miniaturists and the technique of their pictorial picturesque painting irrefutably prove that this art is inseparably linked to the Russian national artistic tradition, classical paintings of the 18th-19th centuries, and to people's folk graphic creative work.
At the same time we cannot forget to mention the connection between the Fedoskino lacquered production and the culture of painted artistic lacquers in Western Europe in the 18th-19th centuries. Having admired the extraordinary beauty and originality of Japanese and Chinese lacquered products, European manufacturers gradually mastered the lacquered production process, bringing in their own changes and innovations. In England, France, and Germany manufactures of lacquered products have grown and successfully developed in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Lacquered snuffboxes, which won a huge popularity, were their primary production. But gradually manufactures producing snuffboxes were closing together with the going-away fashion of snuffboxes.
The last European manufacturing center of lacquered products was the factory of Iohann P.15 Stobwasser located in the small German town Braunschweig. At this enterprise the Russian merchant P. I. Korobov who was trying to follow other Russian merchants at the end of the 18th century to establish the lacquered manufacture in Russia was introduced to the process of creation of lacquer products. Korobov was interested in mass production intended for various groups of consumers. Lacquers that existed earlier in Russia like rare objects of palace decoration (remember unique panels of Russian "lacquered wood" masters in the lacquered Peterhof office, lacquered furniture, decorative vases) were supposed to become everyday goods. Almost at the same time as Korobov such attempts were made by owners of factories in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Mitava and other cities, however only the Fedoskino factory has lived up to this time out of the multitude of "lacquered" manufactures of that time.
During many decades in Fedoskino not only a wide assortment of lacquered products was defined and the technology of their production was led to perfection, but also the system of methods of creating decorative work, which quite often had a very complex image structure, was designed.
From the very beginning the Fedoskino lacquer miniature was stylistically a complex phenomena of art. There are quite a few reasons for that. One of them was the aspiration of factory owners to work for the various markets and to satisfy the demand of all levels of Russian society, from sophisticated aristocrats to peasants and poor townspeople.
Mixed markets were influencing the style of the Fedoskino products during all pre-revolutionary history of business development. "Early Lukutin style was not unified or defined P. 16 by very complicated customer orders. Higher classes and foreign markets demanded for the most part very thoroughly made copies of the Russian masters' paintings? Peasant subjects such as "Russian exotics" were in high demand among middle classes, such as average and below average traders, city and suburban petty bourgeoisie, and also on foreign markets? There were also many independent designs in this range of subjects". [N. N. Maslennikov, A. V. Bakushinsky. Russian artistic lacquers. M., 1933, p.12]
More then half a century has passed since publication of A. V. Bakushinsky and the range of the Fedoskino art monuments known now to the scientist has greatly increased, but instead of depreciating the meaning of his conclusions about the complexity of the Fedoskino art style it makes them more significant.
Attempts to uncover thoroughly the style of the Fedoskino art to show the original synthesis of folk and professional artistic features, and to discover the sources of subjects were made many times by soviet art critics. G. V. Yalovenko in the book "Fedoskino" published several interesting historic documents and analyzed many monuments, comparing them in some cases with development of the Russian painting and graphics in the 19th - the beginning of 20th centuries.
V. M. Vasilenko, S. M. Temerin, I. N. Uhanova, B. I. Koromislov, V. A. Guliaev and other researchers who addressed themselves to different periods of historic development of this business from its origins to nowadays have made their contribution to the Fedoskino art study.
Learning and summarizing the creative work of the Fedoskino masters nowadays are not only in the form of P. 17 traditional art critic research. Thirst for understanding the history and the present Fedoskino art is shown in the attempts of old masters to tell their creative principles in a big literary work. A distinctive auto portrait of business, written not only by a painter, but also by a historian, and chronicler of this folk art center is a book of one of the leading masters Michail Stepanovich Chizhov "Among miniaturists". It was born from memories and thoughts about the Fedoskino art, summarizing his creative experience and experiences of his friends.
In the works of the soviet art critics many sides of the Fedoskino art are examined. However, even now a number of interesting problems of its development still have not been explored. Appealing to biographies of some masters and to chronological examination of development stages of this business during the end of the 18th - 20th centuries became a usual way of researching this kind of art. But it is far from being the only way of finding the essence of the Fedoskino art and peculiarities of its historic evolution. Created as a distinctive artistic manufacture the Fedoskino production gradually gained many features of traditional artistic business. One of these distinctive features was affirmed collectively by the masters' creative works, including joint work on creating a certain kind of product and multitude of variants of its decorative design. Groups of masters developing a certain part of this collective art were gradually formed among the Fedoskino painters. Some were attracted to genre compositions, others were painting landscapes, and others particularly loved to work with ornamental product design.
P. 18 Development of each type within the Fedoskino miniature has gained well-known independence and promoted its own talented masters. Each genre was connected in its own way to some areas of folk or "scientific", easel or decorative art.
Time has come to not only talk about general rules of the Fedoskino art development, but to closely look at a miniature portrait, landscape, genre-painting, and ornamental composition.
The meaning of Fedoskino as an original artistic production and educational complex is underestimated even now. Meanwhile it is a truly unique phenomenon: productively acting for such a long time P. 19 a union of the business and its school together used the same artistic ideas and creative principles, and gained a huge experience in forming a creative personality.
Pressing now to our pedagogic, problems of combining a learning institute with a manufacture were aroused and solved in Fedoskino many decades ago. To choose the most experienced, brightest, and unique masters from the business staff to train the young ones and to bring up new masters by means of the whole staff became an indisputable rule from the very foundation of the school. That was the only way in which the high level of masters could be preserved and their skills of self-dependent artistic work could be inculcated to a new generations in Fedoskino.
P. 20 By no means claiming the completeness of coverage of all these questions, we will make an attempt in our book to examine art monuments of traditional and present Fedoskino. We will do this from a stand point of formation and development in this business an original system of artistic expressive tools used each time by masters in landscapes, portraits, genre or historic compositions, and in decorative design of products. Such approach to this subject became possible only as a result of examination of a large number of big and small collections of the Fedoskino works in different museums and private collections.
The book is illustrated with pictures of the works of the Fedoskino painters from collections from museums of the Fedoskino Order "Sign of Honor" Factory of Miniature Painting, Fedoskino School of Miniature Painting, Museum of Folk Art, State Tretyakov Gallery, and State Historical Museum.
The author is very grateful to the Fedoskino painters, Fedoskino artistic manufacture college of miniature painting, scientific employees of the State Historic museum, the Museum of folk art, Russian museum of decorative applied and folk art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, art critics and researchers of folk art V. M. Vasilenko, G. V. Yalovenko, and G. I. Koromislov for the great help in the work of this book.
ORIGINS OF FEDOSKINO ART P. 21
P. 22 All stories about Fedoskino usually begin in 1795 when a Moscow merchant P. I. Korobov organized the new Moscow manufacture of lacquered snuffboxes instead of the manufacture of cap-peaks and military helmets.
Korobov turned out to be an enterprising and successful merchant. Products of his factory successfully competed with production of many manufactures in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other cities. A well-chosen assortment which consisted mostly of snuffboxes that kept the name "korobovskie" to the present time, assisted to rapidly gain popularity of the Fedoskino products. These are round 10 cm in diameter, 2 cm in height boxes, with lids that are screwed on or overlapped. The box itself and the lid converge a little bit at the junction that makes the snuffbox convenient for the hand.
This form wasn't original. We encounter this form in products of many snuffboxes' manufactures at the end of the 18th - the beginning of the 19th century, but Korobov snuffboxes stood out for their unique decoration. Made for this specific reason engraving was glued on the surface of the lid and coated with lacquer afterwards. B. I. Koromislov points out the ideal blending of the image with the form and size of the product in general: "Under golden oily lacquer these engravings have found the warmth of tone as though fused in to the lacquered texture of snuffboxes." [Koromislov B. I. The art of lacquered miniatures after The Great October // Russian artistic businesses the 19th - 20th centuries. M., 1983. p. 131] Decorated this way the snuffbox was original and inexpensive comparing to silver or china. The subjects of engravings P. 23 were selected on the basis of being interesting to representatives of different levels of Russian population including examples of scenes from the history of the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829 ("Crossing of Danube", "Capture of fortress in Anapa", portraits of heroes and scenes of Patriotic war of 1812). "It was a special folk newspaper in which all vital events found a response", - employees of the State Historical Museum P. 24 write about the Fedoskino products. They also witness that these snuffboxes were valued very highly and stored very carefully.
There is a very interesting fact told by them: a lid from a snuffbox with the image of the fire in Moscow of 1812 with words "This fire will light up in generations Napoleon's fierceness and the glory of Russia" was framed and continued to be as a wall medallion. The subject of the "Moscow fire of 1812" was painted in two variants: black and white unpainted engraving was used, called "prostovik"(simple), and colored as on the medallion of the Historic museum. It is a very interesting example of coloring of the engraving designed only for a miniature object. Deep understanding of each specific character of a miniature object can be easily traced in the works of the Korobov period. For decoration they used not just any fragments of the big engraving, but made special fragments that were well suited for this size and shape of the product and the engraving was painted a totally different way then it was done in "ordinary print" (Lubok). If the wall "ordinary print" often called "folk picture" was colored boldly with a wide brush and the colored spots often didn't coincide with the form of the engraving, then the engraving designed for the decoration of the object or wall miniature was illuminated carefully with a narrow brush and color so the drawing coincided completely. The composition was becoming more expressive and decorative.
Introduction of color to engravings designed for snuffboxes and wall miniatures shows P. 25 in our opinion a completely definite tendency: striving to go from graphic miniature, almost one colored to paining miniatures, brightly decorative. This style developed in the miniature-lacquered art as the general rule, though even masters of later periods were striving to graphic solutions connected to painting used independently.
Hence the Korobovski Period of existence of lacquered manufacture in Fedoskino was marked by technological formation of this decorative art center, definition of flowing product fundamentals, and by junction to the significance in its artistic achievements of the West European school, in particular the Braunschweig miniature. About the high level of this center's art of painting miniature masters we can now judge with certainty by several signed works of the I. Stobwasser factory that are kept in Moscow museums. Among them one of the first places is taken by a miniature on a small plate, that depicts Countess E. K. Voroncova (earlier it was in the collection of Moscow collector A. S. Mokrousov).
This work is an authentic masterpiece of the portrait miniature. An unknown master has made the entire image in the combination of gray and blue tones, developed extremely subtly. Marvelous nobility of the painting attracts in interpretation of a landscape that portrays a blue sky with floating clouds and a dark ground, but literally captivates by the image of a young woman. A spectator doesn't even see the movement of the brush. The painting has thick and thin glaze coats that are alloyed into an absolutely smooth precious enamel surface. The female image of Pushkin time which is in front of us is an authentic miracle of art, fascinating, and spontaneous in its paining.
P. 26 Many of the portraits of E. K. Voroncova painted by Russian and European artists are well known with the majority of them presenting her as a cold and proudly stark woman. The exceptional master of miniatures underlined the feminine softness, charm of youth and depth of her human nature by means of vivid and flowing solutions. P. 27 Her calm pose, slight inclination of the head, and soft broken loose curls are exceptionally expressive. The painter skillfully concentrates the viewer's attention on the portrayed face and on her dark brown eyes. Her face and mood become the most important for the painter and for the audience. All details of the miniature from landscape of the background to the dress are subordinated to the exposure of this mood.
The dress of the model is not accidental. A white light dress with a little decolette and fluffy sleeves with a blue light scarf slipped on the shoulders not only are connected with the landscape background in color, but also help with their romanticism and freedom to open the image of a young woman underlying her spontaneity and lyricism. It is impossible not to notice laconisism of the master's artistic language who doesn't let himself to add any unnecessary detail but who can evoke the real decorative effect from the smallest thing. A little golden buckle on her chest gives an amazing completeness to the image as if putting the last period in the tale about a heroine of A. S. Pushkin's many lyric poems.
This masterpiece of the portrait miniature of Braunschweig masters shows what great skillfulness was reached by the European miniature school by this time and what great artists the Russian masters were in competition with. But was it the standard level? Maybe it was just a great luck of a remarkable master?
Address to other works of the Braunschweig School convinces that the portrait of E. K. Voroncova is not by accidental luck but the highest level of mastery that clearly is proven in other genres of miniature such as in a landscape.
P. 28 Two round snuffboxes clearly tell about distinctive features of Braunschweig masters' landscape. One of them is decorated with a typical country landscape and the other one with a city landscape. These two themes are equitable in the art of German masters of the first part of 19th century and exist simultaneously.
In the Folk Art museum's collection in Moscow there is a snuffbox that is first-rate in painting P. 29 miniatures called "Valley in Swiss mountains". On the small area of the miniature the author showed an amazingly beautiful panorama of mountains covered with woods. There are all attributes of the romantic landscape - a rough stream in a mountain hollow overgrown with trees and a bridge thrown over a stream that leads to a small country house.
The first impression that arises when you look at the landscape is the feeling of life and movement in nature. It is in the rough stream running around stones and in the trembling of leaves of magnificent tree crowns. The painter vigilantly sees the place of a man in this world. For all romantic "wildness" it is inhabited by a man, inspired by his works and concerns. In these backwoods there is his house, the bridge is built over the stream by him, and window shutters of his house are open into this green world. And he is standing on the bridge.
The landscape is romantic by mood but is painted by all rules of classic academic landscape with its division in plans, usage of three colors - green, brown and blue. The entire picturesque color spectrum is harmonized in warm brown-greenish tones. The general warm tone of the miniature is painted by means of soft sunny light that shines in deep mountain hollows lighting up trees and decorating leaves with light glares.
The high skill of the landscape author showed through not only in the composition and construction of the work but also in a wonderful technique of the miniature painting. The master of the Swiss landscape teaches us the loving use of the surface of the decorative object. He uses the high horizon, skillfully closes perspective and gives the landscape the exactly necessary amount of space which allows it not to break P.30 the flatness of the work and doesn't let the image have a big spatial opening in depth.
If "Valley in Swiss mountains" attracted the painter by the romance of life close to nature, solitude, insularity, and by isolation from the big world then the finest miniature the "View of Port Havre" is full of feeling of freedom and free wind. P. 31 This wind from the sea fills the ship sails, plays with cordage, and rocks boats parked in the harbor. The painter was able by means of thick multi-layered painting to reproduce the beauty of the high sky with running clouds, flying birds, and the active life of seaside towns people. On the embankment, on the ships and boats there are people everywhere - sailors, merchants, traders, and rich townspeople.
If you look closely at tiny (5-6 mm) images of people you will see pictures of seaside town's life: sailors and merchants on the boats with cargos come to the pier, cordages and sails are being fixed, resin is being boiled for tarring boats, the smoke from the fire blown by the sea wind to the side is rising into the sky. The painter creates an image of a port town with all peculiarities of its life. It seems that even houses standing on the shore of the bay are enveloped by ship cordage.
In the confined space of "Valley in Swiss mountains" eyes of the viewer concentrated on details, but in the second picture the exit from the bay underlined by a brighter light is given as if breaking into space. The painter absorbs the audience attention to this exit from the bay. This is the spot of gathering of linear perspective, the deepest spot of the miniature space. For all that space of the image and cogency of light and air perspective the painter's mastery showed in the skill to tie this image with flatness with the help of the closeness of schemes, special emphasis, importance of the front scene, and the big space (almost 2/3 of the surface) taken by the sky.
Two discussed miniatures "Valley of Swiss mountains" and "View of Port Havre" show one more time what high level of skill in miniature landscape was reached by the European school and P. 32 what perspective in mastery Russian painters had to reach.
1820s became very significant for lacquered manufacture in the districts near Moscow. "After Korobov's death the factory was inherited by his son-in-law Peter Vasilievich Lukutin in 1825 who developed the business and led it to the great state that allowed our snuffboxes to compete honorably with foreign snuffboxes." [S. N. Troitski. About Lukutin snuffboxes // Among collectors. 1922. # 3]
Korobov started from scratch but Lukutin received the factory well developed. Judging by the beauty and durability of Korobov products the owner of the business was able to gather in Fedoskino efficient masters in lacquered products who knew very well all secrets of wrapping, gluing, and assembling their products in the condition of safety still amaze museum staff even now. Experienced painters worked in Fedoskino who were libertine and serf, trained by foreign masters of high qualification, and national painters, among which there were a lot of great miniaturists. Being interested in art Lukutin knew esthetic needs and tastes of that period which was also very helpful. It is known that Lukutin and his heirs were collectors of china and had a big and diverse collection of products from different Russian and foreign factories. Some of them influenced the development of Fedoskino miniature style of the Lukutin period. Similarity of image interpretation in china and lacquered products says that such influence was very strong. P. 33 We have every reason to talk here about portrait, landscape and peasant genre.
During Lukutin period not only the range of miniature plots had broadened but also new flowing solutions of product shape were created at the factory.
The earlier Korobov factory produced only round snuffboxes, however in the first half of the 19th century production increased with diversity of shapes. There were round, oval, rectangular, and square, tall and low products with very complex development and very simple ones, but all brought to perfection in sizes, proportions and in sculptural details.
The richness and diversity of harmonious art should be noted particularly because they signify a very interesting process of junction of Lukutin masters with rich traditions of professional ("scientific") decorative art in the first half and the mid 19th century.
Beginning during Peter The Great epoch with designing of Saint Petersburg palaces by means of different panels, pictures, decorative articles, and furniture, Russian "lacquer business" was developing in its own way. Taking eastern (Asian) lacquers as a stylistic base at the beginning and not knowing the secrets of creating new shapes for Russian style of life objects, first masters of "lacquer business" at the beginning covered wooden and metallic objects with lacquer, but in a short period of time made compositions from paper-mâché by themselves from Russian materials and began to create products with complex shapes and different sizes. Lacquered objects made by not only famous Saint Petersburg and suburban palaces but also from Moscow museums such as the big painted paper-mâché vase from the National Art Museum can be taken as examples. P. 34 In addition to that busts, sculptures, and decorative jewelry for interiors were also made from paper-mâché.
Undeniably developed by the beginning of the 19th century, Russian culture of lacquered palace objects and diversity of their usage influenced the forming of Lukutin mass lacquered products, but this process had its beginning in a wider layer of culture of everyday objects in Russia. Reminiscences of the Lukutin masters address to other genres and types of decorative art in search of their own plastic style can be sensed in many products of the Lukutin period.
For the enrichment of the decorative sounding of products at that time they often combined lacquered paper-mâché with other materials. In museums' collections there are many snuffboxes and caskets of the end of the 18th - the beginning of the 19th century with ivory, metallic, and china decorations, mosaics, and embroidery. Lukutin masters also used the method of combining paper-mâché with china. An excellent quality of black lacquer, the skill to combine paper-mâché with different in color and texture material such as china, and the skill to combine black lacquer with multicolored pendants by framing them with a thin line of smooth metal are demonstrated in these products.
Lukutin products as if symbolize the connection between a new national artistic manufacture and traditional Russian types of decorative art, Russian cultural chinaware, and artistic processing of bone, metal, and stone. The combination of paper-mâché and plates of turtle shell can be seen in the early lacquered products. P. 35 If you compare snuffboxes made of gold, silver and china that are kept in the State Russian Museum and Hermitage, and products made of bone from the State Historic Museum, snuffboxes from the Peterhof lapidary factory in the 1830s that are owned by the Museum of V. A. Tropinin and Moscow painters of his time then it will become doubtless that the plastic image of Lukutin products from lacquered paper-mâché developed under various and direct influence of works similar in function and created by the masters of other types of decorative art. The exact resemblance of shapes can be found sometimes when compared. Often met among Lukutin products rectangular snuffbox with even lid and slightly rounded body can be taken as an example. Without doubt its shape is borrowed from masters of ivory carving.
But even more often the knowledge of traditions of carved stone, bone, and artistic metal was shown indirectly: in the same solution of object volume and in its accurate and constructively defensible composition and articulation. The master knowing traditions of creating snuffboxes and caskets worked on diverse correlations between external volume and internal space of the product that is why the surprise was waiting for the person holding such a snuffbox or box. Inside it could be divided into several parts, covered with colorful/black lacquer or glued with tin leaves. The external volume was decided differently, carefully, with love and with a great creativity. The product itself as usual could comfortably fit into the hand and its edges were smoothly rounded. All details of the shape were smoothly worked through from the edge of the lid with a tiny ledge, which aided P. 36 to open the box easily to the thin profiled and covered with black lacquer frame of the precious miniature.
Hence the forming of a new for Russian decorative art field, manufacture of lacquered everyday products from paper-mâché, was based on comprehending the experience of other fields of Russian decorative art and on creative mastering of their traditions, which quickly and successfully helped Lukutin masters to get their own plastic handwriting in creating new diverse product shapes.
Research of a great number of the Fedoskino art works lets us conclude that an amazing carefulness in the way once found product forms were treated was the principle of forming at the Lukutin manufacture. P. 37 This carefulness was dictated by a special thoroughness of processing each form and great efforts of wrappers, sawyers, turners, varnishers and masters of other professions that worked at it. Consumers distinguished Lukutin products not only by the painting, but also by forms. Comparison of the best displays of our museum collections clearly testify that the same form of the product (cigar-case, match-box, case for glasses, pencil-box or traveling kit) became traditional, loved by masters and a trademark of this manufacture.
P. 38 Renewal of the product range was going a different way. For the well-processed form of the loved by consumers product they were finding new methods of decorative finishing and the form was becoming sometimes almost unrecognizable. New compositions of subject or ornamental painting, new finishing, monochromatic or polychromatic, application of Fedoskino original decorative techniques such as finishing as stone, turtle, elm, and filigree made the selection of Fedoskino products extremely large.
However such careful treatment of product forms didn't mean ossification and stagnation of this manufacture. Quite the contrary such processing of each form and aspiration to show all its decorative possibilities tell us about the creative approach and understanding of variance as one of the principles of work in decorative art and in the manufacture of mass everyday things.
In richness of decorative methods, product forms, painting mastery, and skillful use of combination of different materials without question works of Fedoskino masters were in first place among the samples of other lacquered manufactures in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
The Fedoskino art has always been closely connected to the culture of its time, to the life of Russian society, its everyday life, and esthetic ideals. Specific analysis of works will help to understand how these ideals uncovered themselves in different genres of the Fedoskino art, what are the specific characters of these genres, and how they evolved during different historic periods.
Address to Fedoskino products of pre-revolutionary period we will not find signatures of masters on them or at least their initials. All products of that time were sold under the factory trademark. P. 39 In 1828 P. V. Lukutin received the right to put on his products the image of the State Emblem. Since then on the inner side of the lid of the box, casket, or snuffbox the Emblem with a double-headed eagle and initials or the full last name of owners was drawn with gold on the red or black lacquer. There are marks such as FPL, "Factory of P. and A. Lukutini" and etc. Behind the name of "Lukutin products" assigned to these products there was a wonderful union of talented masters each and every one of which had a distinctive identity and made a great contribution to the common creative work and to the birth of the new unique appearance of Russian national art.
Tracing the development of the Fedoskino miniature in all the richness and variety of its genres and types we will constantly encounter with peculiar dialectic(s) of the common and individual in works of nameless masters of pre-revolutionary period and in works known to all country contemporary Fedoskino miniaturists. Both in old times and in our days perfection and creative victories of one painter serve for the growth of the whole group, the creative principles of the group, its common artistic level, its opinion, and its judgment of the master's work allow the painter to rise to a new level of mastery.