╘ Black Lacquers Co-operative, 1999
Geographical Situation. Unlike the other three villages, which are in outside of Moscow neighbor-hood (Palekh and Kholui in Ivanovo Region, Mstera - in Vladimir Region), Fedoskino is located in Moscow Region, situated about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Russian capital on the bank of the river Ucha; Danilkovo, the original village, is situated on the opposite bank of the river.
School▓s Individual Technique and Style. Quit another school from Palekh one. Fedoskino work is instantly recognizable through its being the only Russian lacquered miniature painting village to create in oils. Gold - along with the mother-of-pearl plaque, metal foil and preparations powdered with metal dust - is used as a ground rather than for highlights, though usually the sky, even on landscapes, is black. Figures are naturally proportioned, perspective is generally not inverted, and the whole appearance of the composition is that of a Nineteenth Century canvas, and, depending known as "chocolate-box".
The Fedoskino technique consists, typically, of very thinly diluted, and therefore transparent, layers of oil paints (called "glazes") combined with stronger, direct painting with bold colors to provide highlights and details, each of the superimposed layers thus produced being coated with layers of clear lacquer. It is this "translucent painting" which produces the often breathtaking Fedoskino glow: light passing through the strata of clear varnishes and transparent glazes hits direct painting or metal grounds and is refracted back at a different angle, producing luminosity and colour alteration. Before polishing to a brilliant gloss the painting is covered with three layers of light lacquer. All together some twelve layers are involved.
Where metal dust is utilized in the ground, the technique of transferring the sketch to the box consists of perforating the contours of the design with a thin needle, placing the drawing over the surface to be painted, and rubbing the dust into the contours, so that the outline is reproduced.
It▓s probably the school with the most old (with the deep roots from Lukutin) tradition of creating the very reach, definitely fascinating and extremely different ornaments not only on the top but all around the box (like well known "turtle", "Scottish" and so on). Hence, in case of the most creative items, the bottom part could be the masterpiece itself.
History. It was in the Sixteenth Century that two types of Oriental decorated boxes found their way in to Europe. One was the Persian casket, which was made of several layers of paper pasted together, the second was of Chinese lacquer articles and in 1795 a Russian merchant, Piotr Korobov invited four craftsmen from the Shtorbwasser factory in Germany to teach their know-how to the staff of his cardboard factory at the village of Danilkovo on the river Ucha. So, Korobov started out making lacquered peaks for military uniforms, but soon graduated to decorate snuffboxes, which were enjoying a vogue at the moment. About 1818 Korobov's son - in - law Piotr Lukutin inherited the factory, expanded the workforce and ensured a higher standard of artistry.
The last of the Lukutins died in 1902 and the factory closed two years later. The out-of-work craftsmen formed a cooperative society, the Fedoskino Labor Artel of Former Employees of the Lukutin Factory.
Subjects. During the nineteenth century, Fedoskino miniature art took much of its inspiration from classical Russian painting, as well as from ancient Russian engravings and popular paintings. Although in the 1920s and 1930s Fedoskino was still reproducing the themes of the Lukutinsky era and to this day demonstrates its kinship with Russian lithography, folk pictures and Nineteenth Century easel painting, with the typical motifs of the "troika", the round dance, tea - drinking and other rural scenes, there has been a marked tendency since then to explore other subjects, notably the fairy - tales, which, because of the village's tradition of single and group portraiture, show a psychological depth not found in the tempera works. Similarly, the translucent technique lends itself particularly well to themes from "The Malachite Casket". Also architectural views and decorative flower compositions become very popular among the artists.
As with Kholui and Mstera - though not usually with Palekh - a Fedoskino master, or "author", creates an original composition from which other village painters produce copies differ from each other to a much greater than those of either Mstera or Kholui. In our opinion about three boxes in a batch of, say, one hundred of the same subject, show the artist or artists, through a brilliant reinterpretation of the author box, to be of such an original talent as to make him one of the masters of the next generation.
Fedoskino Centralized State Factory is still uniting a lot of creative craftsmen as well as the copy makers, but some painters prefer to work undependable. Some of the noted world recognizable authors of widely available Fedoskino lacquers include: V.I. Lavrov, S.P. Rogatov, V.D. Lipinsky, G.I.Larishev, A.I. Kozlov, Y.V. Karapaev, U.I.Kruglikov and S.P. Chistov. Lukutin, Vishniakov and early Fedoskino works of ▒10-▓40 are very rare on the market.