Each Folk Craft industry is not only a center of unique Art, but a place with it's own peculiar natural features, history way of life and culture. One of such unique centers is Mstera (or Mstyora, how do we call it in Russian).
Village of Mstera located on a rolling banks of Klyazma river in a beautiful scenic spot some 60 miles(100 km) from the old Russian town of Vladimir.
The first information of Mstera as a village of flourishing trade and crafts goes back to the 17th century. Lack of arable land forced its dwellers to practice gardening, crafts and trade. From times of old styles of icon painting, talented needle workers specializing in white satin-stitch embroidery, copper and silver chasers and restorers of icons and frescoes.
In Mstera icon painting came to its final decline at the beginning of the 20th century owing to the emergence of the industrial icon production. Icon painting lost it's significance as an artistic craft. Nevertheless the rich experience, knowledge and skill of Mstera's icon painters did not disappear. Several arduous years went by in search of a new sphere of application for their talents.
1931 was a significant year for Mstera Art.On july 22 an artel was set up that was to specialize in decorating papier-mache objects. It was called "Proletarian Art", a name quite in tune with the times. In a short span of time Mstera's best Masters learned the technique of tempera painting and making papier-mache objects. Yet much remained to be done to bring out all of the aspects of their artistic tradition that could contribute to the emergence of a new art.
The choice of a new style had behind it the joint experience of several generations of artist, but the foundations were laid by Nikolay Klykov,Ivan Serebryakov,Ye.Yurin,I.Morozov, A.Kotyagin,A.Bryagin,I.Fomin and G.Dmitriev.
Making use of all progressive elements of Old Russian culture Mstera's box painting discovered it's own style that was quite different from the kindred crafts of Palekh and Kholui.
Mstera's box is known for the multi-colored ground of it's miniatures painted in light-turquoise and ochre-pink shades. Black is absolutely absent from the color palette. The landscape is painted in a realistic manner. Another typical feature of Mstera's box is the many colored treatment of the trees' foliage that is represented by means of local spots imparting a special decor to the whole miniature. Mstera also offers a more realistic depiction of human figures. It's masters hardly ever use gold to outline the forms-it is found mainly in the ornament.
The vivid works of the founders of Mstera Art have had a favorable influence on the younger artists. In the late 1950's and of course of the 1960's there emerged the Art of a new generation of Msters's Masters--N.Shishakov, M.Dmitrieva, Yekaterina Zonina, Lev Fomichev, Lidiya Demidova, Yuriy Vavanov,A. Krylov, Leonid Zuyikov, Vsevolod Nekosov and Piotr Sosin.
Mstera's lacquer box is vivid evidence of the remarkable viability of old Russian painting and folk decorative Art.
This interesting composition has been painted by the talented Mstera artist Frolov Alexander. An Artist does a wonderful job in coordinating very bright colors in small areas to burst with life and animation.
Talented Mstera artist, Dogadin Alexander, is the author of this splendid piece that shows several scenes from the fairy-tale "The Mistress of the Copper Mountain" written by Pavel Bazhov.
This exceptional composition was created by Mstera favorite Daniil Molodkin. His works are always notable for fantastic representation of different subjects and bright, multicolored coloring. Here the artist has chose a theme of classical tale of J.R.R.Tolkien "Lord of the Rings".
This impressive biblical scene was painted by Mstera Master Alexander Gaun. The artist has already created a series of works based on various biblical subjects such as "Flood", "Exodus", "Gogotha", "Judas Treachery", and this piece continues this list of religious works.Some historical facts.
This very detailed box was painted by a well-known artist Mikhail Strunin from the village of Mstera.
This impressive biblical story was painted by Mstera's Master Alexander Gaun. The artist has already created a series of works based on various biblical subjects such as "Flood", "Exodus", "Gogotha", "Judas Treachery", and this piece continues this list of religious themes.
This interesting composition was painted by well-known Mstera artist Alexander Dogadin. Alexander Dogadin used to work as a major artist at Mstera Factory in 1990s.
This traditional Mstera box has been painted by the well-known Mstera artist, Alexander Dogadin. Alexander used to work as a leading Master @ Mstera Factory.
Well-known Mstera artist Alexander Dogadin is the creator of this original master's work. Here he has chosen to depict various scenes in the development of the "Tale of a Hump-backed Horse".
This inpressive box has extensive paintings around the body, and one oval composition on the lid. The creator of this magnificent work is Mikhail Strunin from the village of Mstera.
This colorful piece by a well-known Mstera artist Daniil Molodkin shows a philosophical theme of non-stop cirle of changing night by a day and so on.
This gorgeous box was painted by Mikhail Strunin from the village of Mstera. It depicts a view of the The Cathedral's Square in Moscow Kremlin. Probably, working on this box the artist used some old paintings drawn in the 18th or 19th centuries.
This box was painted by talented Mstera artsist,Babkina Tamara.