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Velikiy Ustyug Silver Patination
November 18, 2010 21:00


Velikiy Ustyug Silver Patination is the national Russian art and craft that developed in the 17th century in Velikiy Ustyug, nowadays a district centre in the Vologda Region. It is decoration with patina designs of various silver items, such as, for example, cigar cases, glass holders, and tableware sets.

The technology of patination is as follows:
1. Little cuts are engraved, chased or etched on the surface of a silver item.
2. Alloy of silver, copper, lead and sulfur is fused into the pattern.

There are different variations of preparing the alloy, imposing and fusing it. According to certain data, Ustyug masters use the most ancient technologies known today.

Ustyug silver patination always has had appreciable distinctions from that of Moscow and Petersburg masters: much emphasis is given to subject engraving; drawing is quite saturated, with much denser coloring. The background performed with strokes forms a kind of a grid. The image is often supplemented with carved or chased details. In most of the cases general contour of an object is depicted, without detailed elaboration.

History

The art and craft of silver patination appeared in Russia in the 10th century, but got widespread development only in the 17th century. Since the second half of the 17th century Velikiy Ustyug has taken the lead in this handicraft in Russia. The art of patination in Ustyug reached its blossom in the 18th century, and the mid of the century was the time of its first record in official papers: Ustyug dweller Michael Klimshin was summoned to the Russian capital “for training Muscovites from merchant class in this skill”.

Manufactories of Popov Brothers were opened in Velikiy Ustyug in 1762.

From the mid 18th century Ustyug works started to bear the impact of the baroque style popular in Europe at that time. Complicated subject compositions typical of Ustyug masters acquired lush setting. Hunting and pastoral plots gained popularity.

However, starting from the 1780s predominant were subjects, characteristic of strict classicism, according to the canons of which the setting also became much more austere. Masters often used practically documentary pictures of cities and even geographical maps as subjects. In the mid 19th century leading masters often applied floral ornament entirely covering the surface of an item, with use of sharp contrasts.

However, by the late 19th century private handicraftsmen of Velikiy Ustyug could not compete with large capital factories, the fact marking the decline of Ustyug silver patination.

In 1933 M.P.Chirkov established the artel “Northern Patina” in Velikiy Ustyug. Originally it manufactured some plain mass-produced items, such as glass holders, spoons, etc., decorated with simple flower ornaments. However, E. P.Shilnikovsky, who headed the artel from 1936, managed to restore forgotten traditions, and also introduced a number of innovations. One of the novelties was creation of “literary” silver collections based on works by Pushkin, Gogol, and Krylov.

Thus, Ustyug silver patination was revived and reached unknown success — in 1937 at the World's Fair in Paris it was awarded the Big Silver Medal and the diploma (for a series of items based on Pushkin’s works of literature). In 1961 the artel was transformed into a factory. For ornamentation of works large floral patterns with insertions of birds and fantastic and mythological creatures were used.

Thanks to its international glory the “Northern Patina” factory in Soviet period constantly got governmental orders, most of which were performed on the basis of Shilnikovsky’s drawings. The enterprise issued items dedicated to nearly all considerable events, such as Moscow anniversary, Soviet space exploration, etc.

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Source: Russian Wiki
Photo: russia.rin.ru

V.Ivanova


Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Silver Patination Veliky Ustyug   

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