he art of Palekh is a part of the world culture. Lacquer
miniature which appeared in the beginning of the 20th century
oil the basis of old Russian painting brought Palekh a world
fame. Before that for 3 centuries Palekh was known in Russia
as one of the great centers of icon-painting. After the
revolution of 1917, because of persecution religion, former
painters started to look for new jobs where they could use
their experience. The decision was found thanks to a unique
talent of Ivan Golikov and a talent for organisation of
his brother-in-law A. Glazunov. Using experience of Lukutino
miniature and art traditions of old Russian painting, Golikov
started to create miniatures. His charming and original
works fascinated his former colleagues. Even their first
works found a broad response among experts and public in
Russia and abroad. First exhibitions of Palekh in Paris
and Venice made a sensation. Golikov's miniatures, in spite
of their small size, expressed a spirit of time rather well.
His couples, troika driving, rendezvous, dances, battles,
beautiful in form and colour, were full of dynamic rhythm,
reflecting the time of rapid changes.
A.Glazunov "The Firebird"
seven Palekh artists have founded Old Painting Artel. Thus
a new page in the history of the craft has been opened,
and soon lacquer miniature got world recognition. Folklore
way of thinking, richness of content, figurativeness - that's
a typical feature of the traditional Palekh art. Folklore
energy always fed and is still feeding the art of miniaturist-painters.
Genre motifs, as a rule, have retrospective character, it
is not only the tribute to historical memory, poetization
of the past, but a search of harmony in eternal themes in
which is expressed the charm and appeasing beauty of ordinary
human deeds and fun.
E.Kornilov "Prince Elisey"
(after the tale of A.Pushkin)
literary works toward which every generation of Palekh painters
turns their attention every time sound differently when
expressing our reality. Every time well-known masterpieces
find new life. Every artist «reads» one and
the same fabula differently and adds not only his emotional
perception and professional fulfillment but also makes image
in his own way, introduces different nuances, thus reaching
a sharp contemporary expression of a theme. As far back
Goethe, speaking of his understanding of art mentioned that
painters using the same fabula and characters as before
change and transform them in a new way. Having received
during Perestroika the freedom for creative work unseen
before, painters used this freedom differently. Elder generation
of high professionals remained loyal to classical themes:
folklore motives, literary sources. They are devoted to
lofty perception of life and their works are poetical images
of the world.
E.Sokolova "The festive gathering"
painting technique is a durable and hard work which permits
to create painting corresponding to a high image of Palekh.
Learning at Palekh art school for 5 years, future artists
get to know elements of the craft and only later, after
many years of work together with experienced teachers, step
by step, they master the essence of the image structure
of the Palekh miniature, certainly mastering the painting
technique. Future artist starts his training from copying
the works that lets him to bring the painting skill to perfection.
At the same time, he tries to create his own composition,
developing the image-bearing way of thinking. Without it
a painter is condemned to make merely copies, only changing
and modifying them a little.
Majority of Palekh painters being believe: even in the soviet
times, turned back to icon an miniature painting of Biblical
content.Turning to icon-painting is a complex process not
only for Palekh. If creation of the unique center of lacquer
miniature which made Palekh world famous happened thanks
to the high style of old Palekh painting, then the revival
of icon painting is taking place thanks to preservation
of icon painting technique in miniature, spiritual harmony
of its image. Russian Orthodox icon is inexhaustible, rich
material having no analogues. This experience and life itself
prompt understanding of icon image to the painter.
V.Smirnov "Three Bogatyrs"
Palekh there live several dynasties of painters who continue
the work of their parents and grandparents. Many couples,
when both of them are painters and also children are painters
show the best result of the joint art. In this hereditary
succession we see one of the conditions of viability of
Palekh art and its development in future. In spite of great
changes in the art of Palekh artists, miniature still justifies
an epithet «fairy». This is expressed not only
in predominance of fairy-tale themes, but in a structure
of images itself, which are full of loft fantasy poetry.
The most popular motif of Palekh miniature always was and
still remained an image of Zhar-Ptitsa (Fire-Bird). Fairy-tale
characters were looking for the bird which was not only
a symbol of beauty thanks to its sunlight feathering, but
also a symbol of eternal youth and happiness. Zhar-Ptitsa
for decades was an emblem of Palekh art, reflecting the
essence of beautiful and young art existing in spite of
all historical and life shocks. Palekh lacquer miniature
is not only the embodiment of historical memory and national
originality of the nation