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Vjatskaya Matryoshka

Vjatskaya Matryoshka
Matryoshka of Vyatka is the most northern Russian matryoshka. It portrays blue eyed girl from the North with a gentle bashful smile. The girl's face is so charming that it attracts everyone. The painted dolls of Vyatka became especially original in the 1960s, when the matryoshkas were painted not only by aniline dyes but inlaid with straw. Then the straw is covered by oil lacquer. Nolinskaya souvenir factory and Kirovskaya souvenir factory are the parts of Vyatka amalgamation. Matryoshka 'Sudarushka' produced by Nolinskaya factory is very popular.

Possibly, a painted matryoshka will remain one of the most vivid relics of the late 1980s and early 1990s in Russia. The third period of matryoshka art development starts from this time. This period is called a period of author's matryoshkas. This was revolutionary time fraught with serious changes.The economic, social and cultural changes that began in Russia, the famous Gorbachev perestroika caused the great interest in Russian culture all over the world. Russian matryoshka had a Renaissance as well. Like 100 years ago independent workshops and cooperatives where matryoshkas were made were opened. Craftsmen got the opportunity to sell their matryoshkas. Russian art market experienced unbelievable upsurge. Matryoshkas prevailed among the pieces of art on the market. Professional artists were among those who started painting matryoshkas: painters, pencil artists, masters of folk art handicrafts.

The most popular matryoshka was author's matryoshka which was different from traditionalhk styles. It was made by an individual artist, whether professional or amateur one. The typical matryoshka which had been worked out during the Soviet time was replaced by matryoshkas whose decoration could be described as 'individual anarchy'.The matryoshka makers brought back variety of themes in matryoshka painting which existed in Sergiev Posad period.

Different matryoshkas portrayed again Russian peasant girls which resembled the first Russian matryoshka made by Maliutin. The traditional type of the matryoshkas of Sergiev Posad which usually hold something in their hands was complemented by a variety of women, young girls, old women with baskets full of fruits, samovars, bast-baskets, all sorts of dippers and pitchers.Artistic method of contemporary matryoshka makers was more decorative in compa rison with the early samples of the matryoshkas of Sergiev Posad. The objects held by matryoshkas turned into special still-lives. The image of the matryoshka with a big family came back as well.

Matryoshka owner which holds some kind of fowl, for example, a goose or a piglet, belonged to this type as well. The family theme is linked with motherhood theme. The first craftsmen who painted matryoshkas as mothers holding their babies were the craftsmen of Krutets. The craftsmer of Sergiev Posad of the early period didn'taIn have this painting tradition but during the period of author's matryoshka this tradition was developed a lot. Very interesting samples appeared in Moscow, Sergiev Posad and Khotkovo. Motherhood theme is linked with the idea of peace, comfort and protection; lullaby sung before sleep, wonderful fairy tales. Mary the Virgin who was always greatly venerated in Russian is an ideal for each mother image. Gradually, some artists portrayed Mary the Virgin with infant Jesus instead of some concrete image of mother. It is connected with the revival of the religious feeling and Orthodoxy.

At the beginning of the 20th century many icon painters of Sergiev Posad started to decorate matryoshkas.They could not break certain icon painting canons. That's why the first matryoshka painters who had icon painting experience were happy to portray their contemporaries. The artists could observe them everyday on the busy streets of Sergiev Posad. The methods and themes of secular painting could not be used in icons, so they develop their creative potential in decoration of wooden dolls.

The matryoshkas of the early period portray different inhabitants of pre-Revolutionary Russia. If at the beginning of the 20th century there was a trend away from icon painting traditions towards realistic portrayal, then in 1990s matryoshka craftsmen came closer to icon style again. Gradually, some of them started to decorate Easter eggs and then to paint icons. The former icon painters' descendants are getting back to the traditional activity of their ancestors. For examples 'Yaroslavna' ofprA. Kartashov: Yaroslavna, the wife of the legendary Russian prince Igor Sviatoslavovich is portrayed holding the icon of Mary the Virgin of Vladimir in her hands. This matryoshka is painted in a very noble way. As a rule in order to portray Mary the Virgin, Jesus Christ, apostles and saints, artists used icon painting techniques. They consider matryoshka as some kind of a surface on which they draw an icon, not as a doll to be dressed in clothes of a saint. The characteristic feature of the contemporary author's matryoshka is its picturesqueness.

Often the constructive principle of matryoshka doll is sacrificed for the general decorative pattern. The whole painting resembles a variegated fabric and looks very festive. The world around us seen nostalgically by the painter becomes a major theme. To many people living in Russia their country turned to be something new, unusual and at some point mysterious. Icon paintings and Christmas holidays - Easter and Christmas, rituals of christening and church wedding became popular and legitimate again.

In the true folk environment all customs and holidays have never been excluded from the spiritual and cultural traditions which were preserved from generation to generation. At the beginning of 1990s this part of life became public. Some painters tried to reflect these trends in their decorated matryoshkas. In the portrayal of their birthplace they appreciate the new value of it in the historic context. For example, 'Khotkovo' the by V. Bulygina and 'Abramtsevo Nights' by O. Kiseliova belong to this type. It is important to note that not only the views of their native villages reflect their view of the whole world but they see themselves as part of this world. For example, matryoshka 'My wedding' by V. Bulygina, portraying the beautiful ritual of church wedding, reflects some features of the author as well.

The inquisitive eye of the painter strives to penetrate in the past, the present and the future. Due to the rising national identity, a modern painter tries to understand customs and traditions of ancestors. If the masters of the early period found some themes for the decoration of their matryoshkas in the surrounded world, the author's matryoshka is distinguished by a certain 'documentary' aspect, supported by old photographs and documents.The artist is looking attentively at the meaningful faces and poses of his ancestors and tries to understand their style of life. For example, the artists M. Masaltseva and N. Suslova work in this way. The theme of Easter, one of the most revered by Russians Orthodox holidays is conveyed with love and affection by N. Suslova in her matryoshka 'Easter and How We Were Looking Forward to It'. We see how the artist passionately conveys through the matryoshka decoration the emotional evaluation of the events.

The history of this country from Prince Igor's campaign to the contemporary political struggle is represented by matryoshkas. One of the most popular themes at that time was the tragedy of the Tsar's family. The historical evidence and historians' publications shocked the society by cynicism and cruelty of what had been committed. The last days of Nicholas II and his family were featured in films, books, and plays. The matryoshkas portrayed the members of the family as well.

We experience very difficult time: we used to live in the country of certain economic structure and quite imperceptibly we are living in the state professing completely different economic principles. It is quite natural that all these radical changes are accompanied with the breaking of the ideals, life's cataclysms breaking in people's consciousness. At the same time, a lot of things in our life resemble an old classic vaudeville which is a bit absurd. Sometimes our life resembles a noisy motley carnival in Venice where the seriousness and fun, tragedy and comedy, banality and mystery are mixed.

Matryoshka, a doll which looks quite simple but full of unexpected sense turned out to be the best embodiment of the present time spirit. Matryoshka as a form of folk art possesses tremendous potential to convey the deepest sense of the events developed in space and time. The carnival folk element which is seen in the matryoshka decoration allows not only to rise life's eternal issues, but to realise contemporary life in its every day and busy form.

For example, these is the whole range of Russian tsars, Russian and foreign state and public officials. The matryoshkas portraying modern politicians have a grotesque style - old tradition appeared long time ago. For example, a very well known matryoshka- caricature was painted by V. A. Serov. S. I. Mamontov, V. A. Serov himself, musicians P. A. Spiro, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov and other participants of the Mamontovs theatrical performances were represented in Turkish costumes.

Almost all political upheavals of the late 1980s and the early 1990s are represented in the funny caricatures. The political matryoshka has a very clear 'subordination'. M. S. Gorbachev's legendary political career during perestroika brought him popularity in many European and American states. 'Gorby' became the most favourite matryoshka of that time. Stylistically it resembled 'Hetman' a lot. 'Hetman' was a famous matryoshka of the early 20th century from Sergiev Posad. None of the politicians have escaped this fate. A special order was made in Russia to portray the future US president and his closest aids in the framework of Bill Clinton's inauguration.

Long time ago at the beginning of the 20th century some painters tried to use matryoshka as a surface to paint some pictures on it. It could be either fairy tale theme or a landscape. These attempts made in the past helped to develop a new matryoshka type. Its wooden form is used to reproduce this or that theme. Two traditions in matryoshka painting are linked with each other: the topicality of Sergiev Posad painting joins the decorative manner of Nizhny Novgorod. Matryoshka's apron is a traditional place to feature the major element in the matryoshkas of Nizhny Novgorod. This particular detail is borrowed by modern toy makers.

Various types of matryoshkas are distinguished by the way their aprons are painted. For example, some matryoshkas have architectural monuments on their aprons. Such matryoshka is a wonderful souvenir which reminds this or that historical place. Matryoshkas representing Trinity - St. Sergius Monastery, architectural monuments of the old Russian towns of Vladimir, Suzdal, Novgorod and other are very popular. The trend of using decorative elements which are typical for Russian folk culture traditional centres becomes more and more popular in the decoration of modern matryoshka. Very often one can see a matryoshka painted a la gzel, zhostovo, khokhloma, palekh.

Modern matryoshka absorbs in a certain ways the treasures of folk Russian art traditions. Author's matryoshkas are very expressive and energetic. It is quite natural in the late 1980s and early 1990s that many Russian professional artists and craftsman earlier deprived by certain barriers started to paint matryoshkas. This type of art revealed their energy which had been preserved for along time. The matryoshkas painting imbibes all bright, fresh elements connected with the renewal and the renaissance of Russian society of the 20th century.

It is possible to say that this time has given the world the new art-Russian author's painted matryoshka which is a part of many Russian and Western art collections.We can see dignity and humility, power and hope for the future, deep sorrow and boundless hilarity in the Russian painted matryoshka... Time goes on and the new generations are impressed by the talent and imagination of the creators of folk and author's matryoshkas, they derive vital force for the quest and achievments from this source. Matryoshka is a huge artistic event which requires comprehension. It is both sculpture and painting, image and soul of Russia.


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