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Kholuy Miniature Painting
December 7, 2010 23:27

Kholuy miniature painting is a Russian folk handicraft that developed in Kholuy Village of the Ivanovo Region. It is a type of lacquered miniature painted in tempera on papier-mâché items, such as caskets, boxes, jugs, needle cases, etc.


Originally the craftsmen of Kholuy village, just like their neighbours in Palekh and Mstera, were engaged in icon-painting. Art experts refer Kholuy icon-painting, just like that of Palekh and Mstera, to Old Russian painting. According to them, the first icon-painters in Kholuy were monks of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Laura, who taught villagers this art, too. Kholuy icons were appreciated in the northern Russian provinces, such as Vologda, Arkhangelsk, Olonetsk and even in Saint Petersburg. Moreover, Kholuy got orders for painting icons from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia.


After the revolution of 1917 icon-painting workshops in Kholuy were closed and the artists had to make their living in some other ways. In 1934 Kholuy artists inspired by the example of painters from Palekh and Mstera, organized an artel and started developing their own style in lacquered miniature.

However, from the very beginning there was a certain feature that differed Kholuy miniature from others similar productions. For the sake of economy the craftsmen were taught to paint not on the items to be painted but on cardboard sheets. This peculiarity made artists tend to imitate easel painting.

Thanks to outstanding miniature painters, such as S.Mokin, K.Kosterin, V.Puzanov-Molev and D.Dobrynin lacquered miniatures was steadily gaining popularity; in 1937 at the World's Fair bronze medals were handed in to the folk masters.

In post-war years the peculiar style and individual manner of Kholuy artists that made them different from Fedoskino, Palekh and other miniature painters, were getting more prominent. The most peculiar feature in Kholuy miniature is the use of bluish-green and brownish-orange tints.

In 1959 Museum of Kholuy Art was founded in Kholuy. In 1961 Kholuy miniature entered the international market. Decorative lacquered panel paintings started to be created along with miniatures. Apart from the traditional black background the masters came to use saturated red, green and cherry colours.

The range of subjects is very wide: from fairy and epic plots, folklore, historical, literary, military, and architectural themes to satirical plots and portraits of figures of Russian culture. All those things together with the peculiar Kholuy manner, decorative and realistic at the same time, with the artists’ subtle individual differences, created the fame of Kholuy as one of the world centers of lacquered miniature painting.


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Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Russian Souvenirs Russian Miniature Painting Kholuy  

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