Since the XVII century, the village of Palekh was one of the centers of iconography.
Miniatures on papier-mache in Palekh began to be dealt with after the Great October Revolution. It was connected with the formation of the “Artel of Ancient Painting” in 1924.Palekh Art
A number of talented artists, former icon painters, having used the Fedoskians’ experience on papier-mâché, determined the ways of the formation of a new art. Masters of Palekh Art, unlike fedoskintsev, write a miniature tempera – paint, diluted with an emulsion of egg yolk. Multilayer temperamental painting in Palekh art has a number of successive techniques: color spots are painted on the color chart outlined by the whites, then miniatures are painted in all its details, and spaces and gold are added, which is plentifully “intertwined” in the painting.
Palesan is characterized by a letter “floating”: the application of a liquid transparent layer of paint on a damp, colorful surface.
Black background (rarely red or white), as an active element of composition, is also a characteristic feature of the Palekh miniature. The traditional feature of Palekh art is the use of “slides”, “chambers”, “woods” that have passed from ancient painting, etc.
Russian folklore, images of Russian and Soviet poetry, heroes of our history, historical events acquire in the works of Palekh artists fabulous.
Miniature painting occupies a major place in the work of Paleshan. At the same time, their appeal to monumental and theatrical and decorative painting, book illustration and jewelry art, porcelain painting is known. But in these genres Paleshans retain the stylistics of their unique and unique art.
Outstanding success for a short time is won by Palekh masters not only among experts – experts, scientists, cultural figures, but also with a wide spectator of different nationalities and professions, which testifies to the genuine nationality of remarkable art.
Next to the enthusiastic reviews of Professor John Carrouser of Los Angeles, Albert Rice Williams or the artist Rockwell Kent, you can see in the book of grateful reviews the name of the French writer Romain Rolland. In the 1920s and 1930s, Soviet writers Maxim Gorky, Efim Vikhrev, later Ilya Ehrenburg and others paid much attention to Palekh. An important role in the formation of Palekh art art historians A. V. Bakushinsky and G. V. Zhidkov.
At the beginning of the XIX century, Goethe became interested in peasant icon painters. Two icons of Palekh letters – “Holidays” and “Our Lady” – were sent to Goethe. Further information about this story we do not have. However, the almost from the same time the subscription icon “Saturday of All Saints” by master Khokhlov in 1813 gives an idea of the jewelry subtlety of the miniature letter Palekhan. Such icons of exquisite craftsmanship, distinguished by the poetic fairy-tale character of the image, were collected by connoisseurs, like jewels, already from the 16th century.
Icon painting skills were kept secret. The first experiments in the varnish painting were a great event in Palekh.
In 1925, Palekh won the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris. Understanding of the subject determined the relation to the new material. The varnished surface defined the real nature of the plane with which the artist now dealt.
Strict consistency in the application of paint on the lacquer surface was closely associated with the art system of miniature. Line, color, rhythm acquired spatial expressiveness. The miniature was opened to the viewer’s view as an amazing fairy-tale world full of fantasy. But for everything here there are rules and order, approved by tradition.
Each work is unique, unique, each master has his own artistic manner. Its originality is formed not only from the individual understanding of tradition, but also from the feeling of the thing, its form, and most importantly from the sense of life. From her Paleshans derive their motives and themes, implementing them according to their aesthetic ideal.
“I spent a whole week in the company of these peasants, who pick up a brush, laying aside the braid. . Albert Rees Williams wrote in the 1930s. “I was witness to their ability to focus on work despite hundreds of distractions”
Since then almost five decades have passed. The collective of Palekh masters grew up, the school was transformed into the School of Palekh Art, which brings up a new shift. But truly Palekh mastery is assimilated in the experience of long-term work in the workshops that grew up on the site of the former artel.
In 1975, Palekh celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the first artel. In essence, the Palekh miniatures are extremely broad: from the motifs of peasant labor, recreation, haymaking, fishing, hunting, dances, dances, triplets to historic and socially significant topics, such as Boris Godunov, Minin, Storm Izmail “, “Friendship of Peoples”. Here the themes of a fairy tale, folk song and epic, in whose images the voices of time sound.
Nature, people, events – everything is passed through the feeling, seen through time and in time, everything shines with the blue of the sky and the light of the sun, although the sky in miniatures is rarely depicted and depicted conditionally.
Each piece of Palekh art is unique.
Already at the end of the last century, the ancient icon painting skill, transmitted as a poetic tradition of the past from generation to generation, fell into decay.
A high tradition of ancient Russian painting died in the growing factory production of cheap icons. If in Palekh even before the middle of the last century artistic integrity was preserved in the iconography, by the beginning of the 20th century it had been split into many separate operations, manual labor was mechanized. Minor specialization, on which the process of icon painting disintegrated, began to root a mechanical non-creative approach to work. Its main goal is the amount of cheap products at the expense of artistic quality.
Thus the small handicraft industry took the path of capitalist production. On this way, folk traditions were tumbling down, the hereditary artistic culture was being destroyed. As a result of this oppression of industry, mastery, adapting to the demand to produce everything cheaper and sooner, entered the path of capitalist production and split itself into a number of specialties, more and more growing and now threatening to give the entire business a machine character ”
However, along with this situation, great masters with their families continued to work in Palekh. The peasant way of life was preserved. There was a folklore tradition. Among the many workshops in Palekh, developing along the industrial path, the workshop of NM Safonov kept a high standard, technical perfection.
Traditional icon painting skills were strong in Palekh. Its history dates back to the 16th century. Passing from father to son, from generation to generation, it has entered so deeply into the people’s life that it has survived to our time.
Already from the first days after the end of the civil war, the Paleshans begin to look for ways to apply the generic skill that constituted the material basis of the life of a large village.
How to revive the artistic tradition of miniature painting, the subtlest culture of icon-painting, which was owned by fellow villagers?
It was an urgent matter of time. He grew out of the need to take all the valuable and best for building a new culture, awakened the creative initiative, called for a search.
After the icon painting workshops were closed, some masters became painters, others – decorators of club scenes, others painted wooden utensils, toys. In these occupations, a high artistic tradition ran through centuries.