Grigory Alexandrovich Potemkin, 2008 Artists: Denis Primakov and Svetlana Primakova, Palekh Papier-mache, lacquer, egg tempera 10 x 8 x 9½ in Commissioned by David Christensen for his collection
The Museum of Russian Art is pleased to present the exhibition The Ancient Artel: Lacquer Miniatures from Palekh. This exhibition, featuring approximately 30 lacquerboxes and objects from the collection of David Christensen, explores the unique Russian art of miniature painting on papier-mâché. Richly detailed, carefully crafted and colorful, the lacquer miniatures of this exhibition reveal the distinct styles and techniques that developed in family workshops and passed down through generations of master craftsmen in the town of Palekh.
For centuries, Palekh was a renowned icon-painting center. After the 1917 Revolution and collapse of imperial Russia, religion was banned throughout the vast Soviet country. Icon painters had to seek alternative ways of making a living. Artists from Palekh found a clever solution to channel their artistic spirit: painting on papier-mâché boxes. While the subject matter and materials were new, the tradition and communicative power of the art of icon-painting remained.