The art of Zlatoust masters
In the mountains of the Southern Urals, rich in ore, precious and semiprecious stones, among the forests and lakes lies the city of Zlatoust. In the 18th century, one of the first cast iron foundries in the Urals was built here. And in 1816-1817 on the basis of it the Armory factory was founded, which began to produce blades, sabers, broadswords, swords and other weapons. Then the Zlatoust engraving on steel was born.
The art of Zlatoust absorbed the richest traditions of Russian and Western European armourers of the XVII-XVIII centuries, but soon the Ural engravers created their own original style of decorating weapons. Initially, the drawings on the blades, as on the products of German masters, consisted of several traditional compositions, not connected with each other. Over time, there are detailed thematic plots: real figures of soldiers who glorified their homeland in the Patriotic War of 1812, mass battle and production scenes, hunting motifs, Ural landscapes.
Masters of Chrysostom knew the secrets of engraving, deep etching, bluing (glowing), gilding, taushirovaniya and metal carving. The allocation in such ways of the details of the picture created clear contours of the image with soft light transitions. The combination of a gold ornament and a cold blued background, a barely perceptible relief and a sparkling polished surface, an elegant stroke and a sonorous color patch gave the product a special elegance. Ephes sabers and swords sometimes represented masterpieces of small plastic. Their common forms are the heads of lions, dragons, jellyfish, eagles. The unique examples of such weapons were left to us by wonderful engraving artists Ivan Bushuev. Ivan Boyarshinov and others.
Flying on the wings of a horse – a favorite detail of many engravings by Ivan Bushuev. Hence the nickname of the master – Ivan Krylatko. This is the name of the story of P. Bazhov about the Ural craftsman.
A great contribution to the development of Zlatoust engraving was made by the mountain chief of the Zlatoust plants and the director of the Armory factory, an outstanding Russian scientist and inventor
PP Anosov. He sought to acquaint the masters with the best works of world art. He owes the factory the introduction of galvanic gilding in the 1840s, which facilitated this difficult and dangerous work for health.
Zlatoust weapons won fame not only in Russia, but also far beyond its borders. The magazine “Otechestvennye zapiski” wrote in 1825: “The Armory factory is the main attraction of Zlatoust, a subject worthy of attention to the whole enlightened Europe”.
At the end of the 1830s, household items began to decorate at the factory – various boxes, caskets, trays. In the second half of the XIX century, the range of products expands – there are decorated cutlery, knives for cutting paper, cigarettes, cigarette cases, hunting knives and hatchets. The technique of engraving is improved: blades, hilts and scabbards are often covered with a notch by gold and silver over the blown taushirovannom background. Handles are made from Ural ornamental stones, wood and bone. Using the specifics of the material and a variety of techniques, master engravers achieve a rich decor and expressive plasticity of the forms.
After the Great October Zlatoust artists are one of the first artists to use the Soviet emblem: five-pointed stars, a sickle and a hammer, and in the 1920s they turn to the theme of campaign posters.
Famous Zlatoust blades in the hands of the glorious soldiers of the Red Army helped to defend the gains of the revolution in the harsh years of the civil war.
In 1920, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee instituted an award – the Honorary Revolutionary Weapon. Award-winning and memorable weapons made in Zlatoust, were presented to outstanding Soviet commanders and statesmen. At the same time, the workers’ factories gave Lenin a hunting knife in wooden scabbards decorated with leather and metal, which is now kept in the Central Lenin Museum in Moscow.
Today, along with gift weapons in the factory produce prizes, decorative souvenirs, wall panels, close by the artistic solution to the easel painting. In their works, engraver artists reveal revolutionary-heroic themes, reflect the majestic nature of the Urals, the subjects of folk tales; constantly respond to the most important events in the country, glorify the work of Soviet people, educate the feelings of patriotism and love for the Motherland.
Zlatoust engraving was repeatedly exhibited at international exhibitions in London, Vienna, Chicago, Brussels and Montreal.
The USSR pilot-cosmonaut AA Leonov left the following entry in the Book of Honored Guests of the plant: “Everything that was done in Zlatoust earlier and is being done now, causes unusual admiration, a sense of pride for our people, and its bright talent.
I bow to this talent and hands of great masters, who glorified our Fatherland. ”