In the year 1977 the former USSR postal administration has issued a wonderful set shoving some folk tale paintings from the Fedoskino artists' atelier. Please point toward the images with the mouse index in order to get more information about the stamps and the artists.

      The Village of Fedoskino, located 38 km. north of Moscow, on the banks of the Ucha River, is Russia's oldest center of lacquer miniature painting. Many of the inhabitants of this village are connected with this craft. The secrets of making and painting papier-mâché lacquers have been passed from generation to generation for more than 200 years.
    The fashion of snuffing became so popular by the end of the 18th century that the demand for inexpensive snuff boxes began to rise and papier-mâché proved to be the perfect material. A host of small factories were engaged in making snuff boxes at this time. Some of the most notable and famous were the factories of Petr Korobov and the Vishnyakov brothers.

Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Welcome, by Solonkin. Sc. 4554 Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Along the Street, by Antonov. Sc. 4555 Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Northern Song, by Karapaev. Sc. 4556

       Lacquer miniatures of the Fedoskino region were made with the help of multi-layer oil painting on the primed papier-mâché surface with special lining. Mother-of-pearl, gold leaf, silver foil and metal power were broadly used. Painting in translucent layers of paint over various priming and lining was locally referred to as "see-through" as distinct from ordinary thick painting as "body". It is important to note that combining the techniques of "see-through" and "body" has remained unchanged to the present time.
         The years of the revolution and the subsequent Civil War took a heavy tool on the craftsmen and artists of Fedoskino and the workshops often stood idle as a result of raw material shortages and little demand for finished goods. This situation changed noticeably in 1923, when the All-Union Exhibition of Agricultural, Industrial and Cultural Products was held in Moscow, where Fedoskino wares were awarded the first degree diploma "for preserving the craft and high cooperation". The Artel's products were exported abroad to international exhibitions where they were awarded the Paris Exhibition diploma in 1925, and the Milan Exhibition diploma in 1927.

Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Tale of Czar Sultan, by Kozlov. Sc. 4557 Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Summer Troika, by Nalimov. Sc. 4558 Russia, 1977. Folk Tales. Red Flower, by Lipitsky. Sc. 4559

    Today many Fedoskino artists experiment with form and style. The Fedoskino art school stores a collection of 19th Century lacquer miniatures as well as diploma works from its graduates from the 1930's onwards. Opposite the present day factory still stands the old building of the former Lukutin workshops, where the great-grandfathers turned out exquisite papier-mâché lacquer miniatures.

Russia, 1982. Lacqueware Paintings, Mstera. The Fisherman, by Klykov, 1933. Scott 5066

        The above FDC is part of a set issued in 1982, under the title: Laquerware Paintings from Mstera. Boxes from Mstera, though, usually have the lightest colors. Artists there almost never choose black for their backgrounds, and instead use light blue, pink, gold or ivory colors. With the addition of these colors, landscapes generally play a more prominent role in Mstera works, and people and objects tend to take a place within the background setting rather than remain separate from it. In Mstera, a wide range of artistic talent exists. While some artists paint dynamic and elaborate scenes from fairy tales or famous battles, others concentrate on exquisite floral designs.

      What a chance that among such stamps like Jeanne Laburn (the leader of French communists in Moscow, Sc. 4550) and Lenin on Red Square, by Filatov (Sc. 4560) the Soviet artists were also allowed to produce and to publish some masterworks.


Created 12/08/2002. Revised: 02/23/03.
Copyright © 2002 - 2003 by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved in all countries.

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