Russkoe serebro XVI – nachala XX veka / Russian Silver of the 16th – Early 20th Centuries /

St. Petersburg: Slavia, 2004. Sewn cl. Presented are the most noteworthy examples of silverwork from Russia’s leading museums, including the Hermitage, the Armory of the Moscow Kremlin, the State History Museum, and the All-Russian Museum of Decorative and Folk Arts. Many sixteenth- and seventeenth-century masterpieces, formerly owned by Russian princes and members of the Imperial family, have no analogies in foreign collections. Published are both liturgical and secular works such as icon-mounts, standing candelabra and hanging chandeliers, basins for holy water, chased reliquaries, plate and loving cups reflecting the perception of beauty and the amazing artistic skill of the craftsmen of the age. Eighteenth-century works are often stamped with their makers’ marks in accordance with Peter the Great’s decree of 1700. The catalogue looks at the work of individual craftsmen and the development of Russia’s first jewelry factories set up in the 1810s – 1840s. By the middle of the nineteenth century gold- and silverwares did not cater to the upper class alone but also addressed the Russian middle class, whose prosperity and level of education were rising rapidly. The style known as Rococo Revival was exceedingly popular. The shapes of tableware in this style, notably the pear or the globe with chased sharp-edged facets, were combined with small cast details on lids and handles, and chased or applied embossed shells, scrolls and flowers. Some silverware, for example, soup tureens, bouillon bowls and samovars were extravagantly elaborate in keeping with the taste of the period. One of the first examples of monumental silverwork on subjects from Russian history is a table vase sculpted by Ignatii Sazikov as a silver group representing Dmitrii Donskoi on the Battlefield of Kulikovo. Sazikov’s statue of a Knight with a Horse, produced in 1852, after his triumph in the London World Fair, was the first example in the Russian Revival Style, one of the leading trends in late nineteenth-century jewelry. In 1851 at the exhibition of the Industries of All Nations held in the Crystal Palace these works enjoyed a success that was totally unexpected, for in those days France was the supreme arbiter in fashion and taste. Ivan Khlebnikov, like Pavel Sazikov before him, opened a factory for manufacturing, and later was designated as purveyor to the Imperial Court. The Khlebnikov factory’s only rival was Pavel Ovchinnikov. Born a serf, he, like Khlebnikov and Sazikov, began as a workman, an apprentice at the factory of his brother A. Ovchinnikov. His firm founded in 1851 consumed 300 poods of silver annually. In 1893 it employed 30 workmen and 60 apprentices. In the Vienna Exhibition of 1873, King Victor Emmanuel of Italy bestowed on Ovchinnikov the right to be called Purveyor Ordinary to his Royal Majesty, and in 1875 he became the Knight of the Legion of Honor, the highest distinction in France. He was the first to open within his factory a school with classes in practical drawing and in silversmith’s work. Ovchinnikov takes credit for the revival of the art of niello and of enameling in Russia (dippers, dishes, beakers and loving cups made in the repoussé technique). Ovchinnikov’s Slavonic tankards have bas-relief scenes on the body and sculpted figures of historical personalities on the lid are exemplified by the tankard of 1877 showing Peter the Great entering Moscow after the Battle of Poltava. During the first decade of the twentieth-century Russian jewelry firms changed the traditional shapes of vessels and invented fantastic ornaments of motifs borrowed from folk art (saltcellars, tiny dippers or huge loving cups used at receptions, balls and masquerades). The custom of exchanging presents of bijou was very common among the aristocracy, industrialists and financiers and in theatrical circles. At the turn of the twentieth century the House of Carl Fabergé held the leading position in the manufacture of jewelry and silverware – since 1885, when Alexander III commissioned a gold Easter egg from the jeweler, Fabergé was internationally acknowledged winning gold medals in Nuremberg (1885) and Copenhagen (1886). A gifted businessman, Fabergé was able to enlist the services of such brilliant jewelers, gold- and silversmiths as M. Perkhin, H. Vigström, E. Collin, A. Holström, V. Reiner and J. Rapport. It was very prestigious to possess an expensive a cigar box or a cigarette-case (all reproduced here) made by the Jeweler Ordinary to the Tsar. Apart from unique articles, of which no replicas existed, the firm manufactured as silver plate, tableware, items of haberdashery and various souvenirs and trinkets. The book publishes examples of all historical styles culminating with pieces in the Art Nouveau style with its floral symbolism and exquisite silhouettes, and Russian objets d’art, particularly by Fedor Rukert, which are notable for a true national color and poetic spirit. There a list of relevant literature. 256 pp., 100 x 12 ins., 411 illus., sewn cl., Rus. or ENGLISH. Item #3909
ISBN: 595010045x

Price: $74.00

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