September 17, 2012

decorative arts

Russian decorative arts have a long and storied tradition. There is weaving, embroidery, wood carving, ceramics... the list goes on and on. Just the decorative painting alone can be broken down into quite a few different styles, here is a small list from my book shelf: khokhloma, zhostovo, permogorskaya, mezenskaya, and gorodetzkaya. A scholar I am not, thus the links to each of the styles. Hard to find detailed information in English, so if you'd like more and want to play at translating online, here are more links in Russian: khokhloma/хохлома, zhostovo/жостово, permogorskaya/пермогорская, mezenskaya/мезенская, and gorodetzkaya/городетская. By the way, most of these styles break down into even more styles.

I am currently fascinated by the decorative painting inside Russian churches. Not the icons, but the decorative paintings on walls. Right now restoration efforts are in full swing in many Russian churches, especially those that were desecrated during the Soviet rule, which are innumerable. So there is quite a bit of new eye candy to look at. Unfortunately not all allow photography, so here my meager findings:
This "little" cathedral is a symbol of Moscow and has been in the restoration process for most of it's life.
I adore the before and after details at St. Basil's.
the vine motifs are supposed to replicate the glory of heavenly gardens
sky at St. Basil's
leafy swirls at St. Basil's
door trim at St. Basil's
This is a brand new wall in a St. Petersburg church that had NONE of it's paintings left, it was actually a skating ring for a long time. Now this is where the icon embroiderers work.
Another detail from the same church.
I also could not resist a few stone details, these are from St. Basil's
newly restored Kazan Church at the Novodevichy Convent in St. Petersburg
more from the Kazan church
and for comic relief the Russian Buddy bear painted in the Khokhloma style
my personal little Russian decorative collection: Khokhloma and Mezenskaya
If you'd like to read more about Russian decorative traditions the Museum of Decorative-Applied and Folk Arts in Moscow has quite a bit of information. You can see the influence this tradition has on my work when you look at this piece here.


Kristin L said...

It's wonderful to see that all that artwork is being restored -- what a loss if it wasn't. I see your little rose too in the sky at St Basils. :-)

Jeannie said...

As Kristin said, I am glad and relieved to see the restoration work and how sad if it had not been. I find it interesting as I research motifs that I am attracted to (like ancanthus leaves and spirals) how many cultures use similar motifs. Looking at these photos, I thought of my Norse and Welsh roots and how some similarities exist in the folk art. Thanks so much for the links. I see a cold winter day spent browsing, learning, and being inspired.

Vivien Zepf said...

Oh my gosh, this is a gorgeous post. Hopefully all this work results in a renewed interest in the craftsmanship of old. We've lost a lot of the expertise and mastery, I think.

Jane LaFazio said...

yum. love all the photos. and I adore all the designs and patterns.

Paula Kovarik said...

What a lovely collection of inspirations. These shots make me want to go paint my walls with leaves and flowers!