Gorodets painting

Gorodets painting

I.A. Mazin. Residents of the old city. Panel. 1930’s.
The famous master Ignatii Andreevich Mazin was born in 1875. Already at the beginning of the XX century. he became one of the most striking townspeople painters, original in both subjects, and in color, and in graphic elements of the painting.
In the post-revolutionary years, he continued to work in his home workshop.
Since 1935 I.A. Mazin cooperates with workshops organized by the artist I.I. Oveshkov.
At this time he performs significant in size and original designs, of which the most interesting was the painting “My Life”, an original life consisting of 11 hallmarks (it will be preserved in the Sergiev Posad State Historical and Art Museum-Reserve).

Gorodets painting. Gorodets painting on wood is among the highest achievements of Russian folk art. What views do we have when mentioning this fishery? Some will be presented with bright spinning wheels, boxes, screens and other products from the Gorodets, exhibited in the halls of the State Historical Museum or the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Others will remember children’s little tables, high chairs, shelves, toys. Many apartments are decorated with smart and durable breadcrumbs and cutting boards.

However, there was a time when this fishery was not given much importance. So, in one of the reference books of the late XIX century about him wrote: “Gorodets painting on the tree – this is one of the many handicraft industries that existed in the Nizhny Novgorod province, due to the appearance of infertility of the local lands.” And the members of the Commission for the Study of the Handicraft Industry in Russia even said: “Who saw the drawings on the Donets, he knows how rude they are.” And we should pay tribute to those representatives of the then society of Russia, who highly valued this art. It was these people who turned out to be our great artists and the most perspicacious collectors. Gorodets painted before others interested in IE. Repin, E.D. and V.D. Polenov, V.M. Vasnetsov, industrialist and philanthropist S.I. Mamontov, director of the Russian Historical Museum, historian I.E. Zabelin, trustee of the Handicraft Museum of the Moscow Provincial Zemstvo S.T. Morozov.
However, really carving and painting of the city were opened only in the early 1920s, during the preparation of the exhibition “Russian Peasant Art”, held in the halls of the Russian Historical Museum. This exhibition was a unique phenomenon in the history of Russian art. The words written on the poster of the exhibition were entirely relevant to the city portrait: “At present, peasant artists’ works are taken from the cart and the museum is given an opportunity to make them available for public viewing.” Peasant art is almost unknown to anyone, and yet worthy of our deep In many cases, a peasant-artist can indicate new ways of our contemporary art. ”
Noticeable revival occurred then and in the study of crafts of the Nizhny Novgorod region. In 1924, in the Gorodets Museum, an artisan department was opened, where works of peasant masters were collected. The world of peasant household life became the subject of serious study and a deep understanding of contemporaries. From some surviving items, scattered facts, from meetings and conversations with the masters, a completely complete and objective idea of ​​the Goro-shche and the Gorodets district as an original center of peasant art of Russia was finally formed.
On the territory of the Nizhny Novgorod region, the masters created completely different types of wood painting – Gorodets and Fedoseevskaya, Polhovmaydanskaya and Khokhloma. Gorodets painting appeared and blossomed in close proximity to the “kingdom” of Khokhloma. But the golden splendor of Khokhloma did not eclipse the bright festivity of the works of the urban masters. If Khokhloma strikes with a golden splendor, as if born in the fire with fantastic red and black inflorescences and herbs, fine calligraphy of the finest lines, then the urban painting enchants with the richness of the colors of the Russian summer with its motley grass, the bright sun, as if lush garlands of flowers, bizarre birds, horses running through fairy-tale meadows.

Gorodets painting

Lady. The seat of a painted highchair. The end of XIX century.

Gorodets painting was put forward in the first row of folk crafts of Russia because in it wonderfully organically combined adherence to ancient traditions with open joyful perception of modern life. Folk craftsmen united in a single artistic system rich floral ornament, images of fairy animals and pictures of modern life of the city, village, manor, the famous Nizhny Novgorod fair. At the same time, the basis of the urban style of painting was “magical realism” – the transformation of everyday life into the dream of a peasant artist about the joyful life of a person on a beautiful flowering land, in complete harmony with nature.
The most experienced connoisseurs are fascinated by the courage of Gorodets painters in the choice of plots, the skill in building multi-figure scenes, the expressiveness of the heroes of the painting, beautifully, according to all laws of decorative art, painted interiors, luxurious floral ornament.
To understand why Gorodets painting became exactly this, one must certainly visit her homeland. This village also villages Hlebaikha, Kurtsevo, Koskovo, Savi no, Buki and others, located along the banks of the Volga tributary – the river Uzola. Why was the painting named Gorodetsky? Why is it not Kurtsevo, not Kosovska, not Savinsky or at least Uzolskaya? The name “Goretskaya” sounded only in the 1930s after the appearance of the work of one of the most famous researchers of folk culture, VM Vasilenko, in earlier editions we are talking about “Nizhny Novgorod painting” or “Kurtsev dyers.” The new name was fixed, because Gorodets was the main market for Usolian painted utensils and also had workshops for painting the tree, but most importantly, it was with him, his way of life, customs and images that the very content of the painting was associated since the middle of the nineteenth century. the basis of all artistic culture Gorodets and its suburbs, which has a history of more than eight centuries. Without knowing the long history of Gorodets and crafts do not understand the essence of Gorodets painting.
Each of the periods of Gorodets history is interesting in its own way. There was a city in the second half of the XII century as a military outpost of Russia on the Volga coast. In the XIII century, Gorodets was the capital of the Gorodets Principality, and then became part of the Nizhny Novgorod-Suzdal Grand Duchy. The early history of the Gorodets Principality is associated with the names of Andrei Bogolyubsky, Mstislav Udalogo, Alexander Nevsky. In the Russian chronicles were reflected not only the construction of the city and successful raids of the princes on the Bulgars, but also terrible events – an attack on the Gorodets horde of Baty. “Tatarovo took hailstones, burning them, monasteries and churches and princes and dwellers of the households betrayed the same flame … people barefoot and bloodless, exhausted from the darkness, svidosha polon in the countryside,” says the author of the Nikon Chronicle of the events of 1238 . But after five or six years, the survivors of Gorodets rebuilt the city. Soon the prince in it became the younger brother of Alexander Nevsky – Andrew. His encounter with the Tatar Khan Nevrei threatened a new invasion of the Tatars, which had nothing to reflect for now. It was necessary to the elder brother Alexander Yaroslavich to go to the Horde with a bow and gifts. He returned already seriously ill and, hardly having reached Gorodets in November, 1263, died here in Fedorovsky monastery.
In the 16th century, the town was named after the Gorodets, the second name – Maly Kitezh, unlike the legendary Great Kitezh, which disappeared from the enemies in the waters of Lake Svetloyar, which is not so far from Gorodets.

Gorodets painting

NN Noskova. Icon of the Mother of God “Undying color”. 2005
Traditions of the old masters of icon painting are still alive today. At the factory “Gorodetskaya painting” there is an icon painting workshop. A well-known icon-painting plot is written using the Gorodets ornament.

Gradually losing the importance of the military outpost, Gorodets gained strength as a trade and craft center. He was famous for his tarantasnikami, tanners and saddlers, embroiderers and goldsmiths. In former times the city filled honeyed spirit of the Gorodets Iriais. which were baked here with XX century. There were so many of them that were enough for Balakhna and Nizhny Novgorod, and for distant Tver and Astrakhan. From XXI century before us came this testimony: “15 miles from Balakhna was … a trading village Gorodets, in which every Saturday there were” notable trades. “The list of what was then traded in Gorodets, takes several pages.
Gorodets, being the center of trade and shipbuilding and in the XIX century, always remained a bright and distinctive focus of Russian culture. The peculiarity of local cultural traditions was largely determined by the unique geographical location of the Gorodets. Since the XII century it is an inseparable part of the Vladimir-Suzdal land with its highest traditions of architecture, icon painting, decorative art.
If you try to trace the origins of the town’s painting, then it is necessary to remember that the Gorodets of the 17th and 19th centuries was one of the centers of the Old Believers. It has had a significant impact on the spiritual life of the Gorodets district and its crafts. From the icons brought here by immigrants from the northern lands after the destruction of the pomor and Solovki monasteries by the tsarist authorities, local icon painting took place.
Sometimes intuitively, but more often quite consciously the masters of Gorodets painting strove to continue the traditions of the Nizhny Novgorod icon, in particular her plant ornaments – “herbivore about writing.” It is this iconic ornament with its refined techniques of writing flowers and herbs, their gathering in garlands and bouquets was an excellent school for every Gorodets master, and the school is familiar, familiar from childhood. The icon taught both the beauty of color, and the expressiveness of silhouettes, and the methods of building space, and the significance of every detail. The peculiarity of the town’s painting was born at the junction of the traditions of the Old Believers’ Transvolga and the quite secular life of the uyezd and provincial towns, the famous Nizhny Novgorod Fair, whose influence was felt in the economy, everyday life, customs of the entire Volga region. “The very notions of life and its fun quickly disperse with the Nizhny Novgorod Fair along all the paths and paths of the people’s life and quietly settle in remote hills,” the contemporary testified.
Greedy receptiveness to everything new has attracted peasant artists to portray all these innovations, new people, festivities in the city, steamers on the Volga, fair entertainment.
The glory of the town’s mural began with the decoration of objects of female use. These are spinning donkeys, weaving mills and cupboards, caskets and highchairs. Particularly liked by Uzol craftsmen to decorate spinning wheels. “The girl behind the spinning wheel is one of the characteristic images of the old Russian peasant life.” The maiden’s life is always decorated and decorative: the spinning wheel standing next to the spinner adorned it along with clothes, embroideries, beads and ribbons. “It was often a gift from a man, cut out and signed with lovers dreams and thoughts, as evidenced by a number of inscriptions preserved on spinning wheels, “- it’s hard to say about spinning wheel better than it did almost 100 years ago BC Ravens.

Gorodets painting

Lady. The seat of a painted highchair. The end of XIX century.

Gorodets distaff, as if by nature, designed for the work of the artist. Unlike spinning wheels, carved from a single piece of wood, it consists of two parts – the bottom and the crest. The basis of the spinning wheel – the bottom – a fairly wide board, the dimensions of which fluctuate. If the length is almost always about 70 cm, then the width is from 30 to 50 cm. To the anterior rounded part of such a board is attached a digger – a tetrahedral truncated pyramid with an opening at the top for inserting a rather large crest on a long handle. The crest was used to attach tow, flax or wool. The spinner put the bottom on the bench, sat on it and began spinning, winding the thread on the spindle. And here the talent and skill of Gorodets masters of the Don have become works of high art that amaze their beauty by more than one generation of connoisseurs.
According to the local legend, the first skills of painting the master of Uzolsky valley were received from the artist N.I. Ogurechnikov, who in 1870 renovated the murals of the church in the village of Kurtsevo. Smart kurtsevskie and koskovskie muzhiks, attentively following one hundred work, were able to find out the secrets of the preparation of paints, remember the tricks of work with a brush. Not only the painters learned local craftsmen.
Here we will have to get acquainted with the Uzol carvers but the wood They made the spinning donets, decorating them with a carved pattern. Initially, the carving was usual for peasant utensils: geometric grids, rosettes with divergent rays – symbolic images of the sun, which are also called solar signs. And for several years, along with the traditional carving, a completely different thing emerged, both in content and in technology. performance. Not ancient magical signs, but modern life, her images became the main ones.
11a dons there were scenes of horse hunts with dogs and falcons, riders on horsebacked horses with naked checkers, racing luxurious carriages with footmen on the bridles and dashing coachmen on the sticks. With amazing love and diligence depicted scenes of city festivities – magnificently dressed ladies with indispensable umbrellas in their hands, their cavaliers in frock coats with tightly stretched waists, in tall greaves (idiosyncratic cylinders) or triangles with plumes. Undoubtedly, having appeared on the market, such products of carvers made a furor. But not only plots, but also new methods of carving. Instead of the usual trihedral-notch threads, a faster, less laborious, but no less expressive contour and staple thread went into use. With the help of different widths of semicircular chisels and fine knives, the carver created pictures unheard of in the folk art of the past.
It is also interesting that among the new tv, introduced by Uzol craftsmen in the carving, was the use of color: from the coloring of individual fragments of thread with the juice of berries or decoctions of plants to a unique inlay with stained oak. Material for such works was not far, at the bottom of his native Uzola. A winding wayward river in the period of high water often washed away the banks, poured trees into the water. From the long lying in the water, the wood of all other species disappears, and only the oak acquires an ever greater strength and characteristic black color, to which, over time, a slightly bluish tint is added.
Catching out of Uzola pieces of stained oak, local masters soon learned how to handle it well. From the solid wood they cut quite thin (3-5 mm thick) plates, round carnations and other details that were included in their carved compositions. The technique of this inlay was absolutely amazing: here, no glue or any attachments for fixing the inserts were used. Figures of horses, riders, wheel carriages and other insets were placed in specially cut grooves and attached with wooden studs, combining both artistic and technical purpose. Such carnations were fastened and decorated hoofs of horses, their eyes depicted, they also outlined the outline of the outline of karst. Sometimes such an ornament ran along the edge of the Donets and gradually became a distinctive feature of the entire group of inlaid Donets.
Performing inlaid carved donets, the masters mastered various compositional techniques. Along with the vertical tiered composition, a horizontal one was used, which provided enough space for the donna and a massive coach to be placed with the lady sitting in it, and a man with a whip, and a coachman with a whip, and a footman on the bridles. And the first thing that attracts in the Donets with the carriages is an unmistakable sense of scale,
the ratio of the image and background. Every detail is visible, meaningful, and extremely expressive. In the carved Donets, the professionalism of the townspeople in the construction of the plot composition, based on a clear organic rhythm, has already fully manifested itself. This rhythm will develop even more in the mural.
Another important feature, inherited by painters from carvers, is an extraordinary concreteness and precision in the details of the image. The carver does not carve at all, but the spring crew XX century, or depicts the old “Catherine” carriage, which can now be seen in museums.
The carving with inlay existed in Priusolye for only a few decades: practically this fishery stopped by the 70th years of the 19th century. Consequently, his story was associated with the life of no more than two generations of masters, but the masters of the amazing. Among them, we must mention Lazar and Anton Melnikov, Anton Nikolaev, in whose work the circle of images typical for Gorodets art was already determined: ladies and gentlemen, they are military men, often horsemen, they are dogs, birds and beautiful townspeople. There were also favorite subjects – parties, gallant scenes.

Gorodets painting

Hussars. Spiked loaf spoon. The second half of the XIX century.

In the geometric, plotted carving of Gorodets, and later in his painting, another important feature of folk art was manifested – the combination of reality and fantasy in one composition. Spies at work, the scene of presenting the bridal gift to the bride adjoins the figures of fantastic horsemen, with unprecedented plants similar to palm trees.
The transition from carving to painting was carried out quite smoothly and gradually, the carvers themselves participated in it. Very interesting in this respect is one of Lazar Melnikov’s daughters, which is important – he signed. On this bottom the upper part of the composition is made in the technique of carving, the middle part is carved with a tint, and in the lower part there is an outlet painted with paints and a brush.
So, looking closely at the carving of the city with inlaid and later carving with a tint, it is easy to see that the direct teachers of the painters were just carvers. They defined the main theme of the future painting, they designated its main characters, they laid the foundation for the fine language of urban art. In a word, something entirely new was born on the basis of the old art – peasant painting, which absorbed the beauty of the surrounding nature, everyday life – not only the material but also the spiritual value of the associated caves, the wonderful ornament of old books, icons, and needlework.
And the development of this new fishery took place with unprecedented speed for folk art, in just two or three decades.
In the 1870s Uzol masters began to make wooden products decorated with bright paintings. In the foreground there were, of course, spinning donkeys, starting with a modest, narrow, decorated with one flower, a branch with berries, a bird or a horse – in a word, an ordinary bazaar, to broad, monumental, where the artist, showing all his art, performed a painting in as many as three tiers. There were scenes of crowded festivities and feasts, depictions of military battles, wires to soldiers, dashing officers on horses and important ladies after a discreet conversation. Painting was often performed on special order as a gift to the bride from the mother or the groom. Ritual appointment of such donets is confirmed not only by the richness of the painting and special subjects, but also inscriptions on the spinning wheels or by stories of local old-timers. Donets was not only a working tool – he was treated with great respect. After the end of the work, he was released from the ridge, hung on the wall, it, as well as bows pictures, embroidered towels, shiny salaries of icons, decorated the peasant house, brought him joy.
The forms of the local spinning Donets were almost perfectly worked out by the Gorodets carvers of the first half of the 19th century. They learned how to cut the bottom of the aspen from the aspen and attach the head to it to insert the crest – the daggers, decorate the edges of the dolphin with smooth semicircular cuts, make it the top of grace, decorating the two side faces with the encrusted bird and horse, the other two – hot longitudinal cuts reminiscent of the flute of the ancient colonies . However, the painters needed flat surfaces to work, and the edges of the bottom and the edge of the dipper eventually become even.
But becoming less expressive in form, the Donets of the second half of the XIX century blossomed. like a fairy garden.
Gorodetsky painter manages to write on a very small plane a charcoal bright bird among the flowers, a black skate, when it comes to decorating the broad plane of the Don, there is no limit to his imagination! People in fashionable costumes, animals and birds, fantastic flowers, rooms – almost palace halls and streets with their motley crowd. But no matter how fantastic are the ideas of the master, in his painting there always reigns a certain order, custom, canon. And according to this custom, he divides the oblong surface of the bottom into three tiers. Upper, near the copse, usually slightly larger than the lower; shares the same two parts of the ornamental frieze. It can consist of multi-colored stripes, and can become a lush flower garland or a branch with berries. Only the taste of the master depends on whether to write to him all the bottom on one foyer or make the background different for the upper and lower parts of the composition. Often found donets, written on the beloved single golden yellow background, and sometimes so: the upper mark – orange, and the bottom – bright-malipovoye.
Not only the colors of the background differed, but also the plots. In the upper part of the Don, the master often turned to the world of people, while in the lower part was the realm of nature – images of animals or plants. But this is only the general scheme for constructing the painting of the classical Don, and the masters did not always follow it unquestioningly. The unique charm of the Gorodets painting is in the constant retreat from the canon, in the feeling of the creative freedom of every master.
Next to the elegant painted spinning wheel was usually painted and mochesnik – a box for spindles and “lobes.” (“Mochka” is a linen curtain prepared for the yarn.) For the manufacture of moches in the spring, it is better in wet windy weather, they prepared linden
the origins of the bast, cut it into strips of the right size, steamed, bent, and then stitched in a special way – “lock”, using a thin and strong pine root. From this sewn lobe strip the base of an oblong oval box was obtained, to which a smooth wooden bottom was subsequently attached. – and mocheshnik was ready.
The round shape of the moches, bastboxes or bowls made it possible to unfold the image in a peculiar ribbon-frieze, to tell the whole story, as if extended in time. It could be a picturesque narrative of hunting, weddings, sit-downs, and the lively movement of steamboats on the Volga. The freeze could be continuous, but could consist of several episodes or, as the old icon painters used to say, branding.
The most common was the following order decoration mochschnika: two story scenes – along the longitudinal sides
boxes, two ornamental motifs – on the front. One scene was separated from the other by a vertical strip of characteristic city ornament – a string, a bindweed, crossed brackets.
It would seem that it was much more convenient to paint a rose, a garland of flowers or other ornamental motif on a small space of the wall of the mosquito, but the Uzol artist here also claimed that without the depiction of scenes of modern life, there is no city portrait. How surprisingly he used the expressiveness of the poses and gestures of his characters, in fact he directed almost theatrical mise-en-scenes. There is much to learn and colorist. In the mosaic painting “Pryakhi” from the collection of the Gorodetsky historical and artistic museum complex the author applies a remarkably beautiful coloristic solution. On a blue background, he writes a scene of village gatherings and a scene of meeting young people, using orange-pink, green, black and white colors.
The images on the end faces of the moches had often a profound meaning. Such, for example, is the motif, favorite in the city portrait, the image of a clock in a rich ornamental frame. The figure of an elderly woman, the mother of the bridegroom or bride at the other end of the mochesna, also reminds us of the inexorable run of time. These images are another confirmation of the fact that the mochechniki, like the spinning wheels, were not just household things of the village, but were connected with ritual ceremonies and holidays, the most important of which was a wedding.
No matter how good the moches and the bowls, they find it difficult to argue but beauty and originality with painted chairs – carers and wheelchairs (the so-called chairs with casters attached to them).

Gorodets stools, depending on the size, were intended for the children themselves and for their dolls. This is a special area of ​​creativity Gorodetsky artists – work on decorating the subject of a complex three-dimensional form. Turned wheelchairs – children’s wheelchairs on wheels – made in the villages of Repino and Koskovo, and bent chairs were made by peasants in Nikulin and Skolzhikhin. For one wheelchair more than three dozen details were milled from aspen or birch. With the help of wooden axes and thorns, without nails and glue, these parts were connected so firmly that today they remain unharmed.

However, really Gorodetsky such chairs and wheelchairs became only when they painted on a raspberry, brown, yellow, blue or black background. First, a seat was painted – a small plane about 20×20 cm in size, sometimes in the form of a trapezoid. This part of the work was considered the most difficult and responsible. The most common motif here is a branch with berries and small leaves, written in a diagonal plane. A special role was played by the white hatching-liquefaction, thanks to which the branch revived, acquired graphic clarity, but did not lose its picturesqueness. The master’s love of freedom and the virtuosity of the whiteness of the stroke was especially felt in the framing of the chair’s seat and the composition on his back-visor.
At the artist’s disposal was only a narrow, about 2.5 cm in width, frame-frame and a small backboard – no more than 20×8 cm. The master stroked a square with a light stroke, in the center
which already had a branch, a flower, a cat, a boy riding a dog or some other funny story. Framing could serve as white brackets, staples with a stroke in the middle of each hole, an intricate rope or simply a white stroke.
On gorodetskiy stools often appear birds or animals. Especially the favorite character was a cat – a kind Kot-Murlyka. He was portrayed with a big round head, a dashing mustache, green eyes. Masters often wrote lying, curled cats, but especially loved proudly seated, surrounded by flowers and berries. Black, gray and bright-red cats appear not only on the stools, but also on the moches, bowls.
Master-innovators was created and developed before the unprecedented genre in the national art – the city’s ceremonial portrait. It would seem absurd – a portrait on the seat of a toy stool! On the fact that such works exist, you can not go anywhere. There are many similar analogies with chastushki, but if the chastushka is always mischievous and fleeting, then the city’s ceremonial portrait, although comical, but in its own way majestic. In it, the influence of the provincial merchant portrait is palpable. Their influence on this genre, undoubtedly, had the works of the first Nizhny Novgorod and Gorodets photographers.
In the city portrait there was a canon, a kind of typical composition. In a small hallmark there was a figure in the growth, a breast or human image in a three-quarter turn, sitting in a chair or on a chair with a high back. The master also designated part of the furnishing of the house, drawing a tall arched window with an intricate binding. Much attention was paid to other details of the interior – a table on carved patterned legs, a large flowerpot, sometimes depicted part of the patterned floor, lined with squares of parquet.
In the books written about the city painting, it was often said that her style is undoubtedly connected with the folk picture-lubok. But with which lubok? The heyday of the Russian popular print – hand-painted wooden and copper favors – fell on the end of the XVIII – the first half of the XIX century. In the second half of the XIX century, this art went into decline, and it was replaced by the so-called bast products. The printing houses of Moscow and St. Petersburg printed oleographs and very poor in artistic quality “prostitutes” – lithographs, painted by hand by urban artisans, recent peasants. They depicted modern events, famous people, for example, all then famous General Skobelev, fairy stories, scenes of village life, revels of merchants in rich restaurants. These pictures were so artistically insignificant that none of the art critics and understand something they did not want. But, as it turned out, the city masters looked at them “in all eyes” and did not look at all in vain: they had to learn to write the scenes of today’s life, the buyer demanded from them the actuality of the plots, the scenes of the life of the townspeople and the Volga merchant class, knowledge of the situation of houses and modern enough complex women’s and men’s suits. The late lubok was an excellent auxiliary material, a kind of cheat sheet. And the talent of Gorodets craftsmen was to be able to use this working material as nothing more than a clue. They looked at the city’s artisans technical techniques, the principles of solving space, entertaining details and rethought them as genuine artists who masterfully mastered the brush.

Gorodets painting