Few words exist that can effectively describe this excellent box by Fedoskino artist Alexander Kriger.
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Few words exist that can effectively describe this excellent box by Fedoskino artist Alexander Kriger. Radiating with the brilliance of gold metal paints, wonderful oil paints and intricate detail, this composition is a reproduction of an oil-on-canvas painting by Russian artist Konstantin Makovskiy (1839-1915). A popular composition, this is a masterful interpretation and can be a highlight of any collection!
This elegant portrait was first implemented in miniature by Nikolai Soloninkin, and is now a well-liked Fedoskino composition. Depicting a young girl sitting by a traditional Russian fireplace, this composition is based on themes of everyday life which Makovsky and other Itinerant artists of the second half of the nineteenth century commonly painted. The massive masonry and tile fireplace, or pyechka in Russian, was a place to cook food and, since it was the warmest place in the house, many families would gather around it and even sleep on top of it.
As in many of his pieces, like "The Boyar's Wedding", Makovsky focused on lavish details of historic dress to create a feeling of exotic Russian history and romance. This interpretation of "By the Stove" is by Fedoskino artist Kriger is perfectly done. An incredible realism has been achieved through choice of colors, attention to perspective, and meticulous working of the details of texture and shape. The stove has been beautifully decorated, and shaded perfectly. The background shows a nondescript wall painted in soft reddish-brown tones. This helps to focus the attention on the true star of this painting--the girl. She is shown sitting quietly, holding her head delicately with her hand. The girl's dark eyes are painted in such a way that they seem to look through you, as if she is deep in thought.
She wears traditional Russian upper-class clothing, and is probably the daughter of a wealthy merchant or perhaps even a nobleman. Her velvety-red dress is decorated with soft gold floral patterns, with shiny gold ribbons and edging. Kriger has used a combination of gold leaf inlay and bright metallic gold paint to create a glistening decoration. The girl's white sleeves are masterfully painted, with shading and design to show three-dimensionality. The girl's headdress and jewelry are the crowning point of this composition, and are painted with oil paint mixed with metallic gold paint. Incredible detail has been added, more so than in many other similar compositions.
The painting takes up the entire lid of this rectangular piece and has no border. Instead, it seems to fade away to black at the edges. The lid is hinged to the left of the picture and the box has a flat base. Perfectly executed bright gold filigree adorns the sides of the box. The artist has signed and dated (2006) the composition in the bottom of the box.
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