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Wood Painting
March 30, 2015 19:16

The art of wood painting has its peculiar features and characteristics typical for various regions of Russia. Our ancestors adorned their household items, such distaffs, boards, chests, and on other wooden utensils. 

Russian wood painting is very symbolical. The paintings were made with consideration of their meaning. For example, the image of a tree can be found very often and it stands for energy and joy of living; the circle represents the Sun; several circles together depict the movement of the Sun across the heavenly dome. Lions symbolize masculine power, whereas birds are heavenly messengers.
Rabbit foot was used instead of a paintbrush for painting coffers. Specially made stamps – wooden sticks about 18 centimeters long and varying in thickness - with images of flowers, daggers, asterisks and other patterns carved at the end were very popular painting tools.
Prior to painting the masters prepared glue from scraps of sheep skin. They coated the surface with glue and painted the background until the glue dried. Then the coffer surface was covered with one more layer of glue.
They outlined the composition parts with a ruler and a pair of compasses. A wide frame was painted on the surface of all the colored walls. A similar broad band divided the front wall and the cover of the coffer into two squares, with diagonals in them and circles drawn at the intersection of lines. Sometimes the square angles were marked with bevels; rhombs were drawn in the center of the square and circles were fitted into the rhombs. The rhombs and circles were painted over with some of the colors taking part in the color palette of the painting. After drying the entire surface of the cover and walls were painted with green color or the Dutch carbon black, and then printed various patterns with chrome yellow or whitewash. The artists used oil colours stretched with whitewash. Floral motifs with rosebuds were popular. 
House painting was an important element of the interior in the Russian North for ages. This folk art reflects the long established concepts of beauty and caring about one’s house. Researchers assume that the heyday of house painting fell on the 1880s – 1910s. This North Russian tradition was especially widespread in the Vologda and the Arkhangelsk Provinces, which included some parts of the modern Kirov Region as well.
Throughout 26 years a rich and extensive collection of Northern house painting was gathered under the leadership of Vladimir Aleksandrovich Lyubimov, an employee of the Kirov Regional Museum of Local Lore. Painted wooden details of peasant house interiors can be seen at the permanent exhibition Folk House Painting in the Museum nowadays.
Modern Kirov painting is applied on the surface of chests and boxes with soft squirrel-hair or Kolinsky sable-hair paintbrushes. The background is painted with a flat paintbrush or a bristle brush. After drying the painted item is lacquered. Nitrocellulose varnishes are used for this purpose.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Art Kirov Region Woodwork Painting Arts and Crafts 

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