Traditional Russian painting techniques


- an original Russian folk craft, formed in the province of Nizhny Novgorod. The main feature of Khokhloma craft is production of gilded wooden utensils without the use of a precious metal and an original special floral and herb painting.

Lacquer Miniatures (Palekh, Kholuy, Fedoskino, Mstera)


Palekh miniature – is an original folk craft, formed and maintained in a settlement of Palekh, Ivanovo region. All Palekh lacquer miniature drawings  are based on the iconographic painting, its traditions and techniques.

From the very beginning Palekh artists widely used folk motifs and poetry of Pushkin, Lermontov and others. Range of Palekh miniatures products was very broad: brooches, jars, boxes, cigarette cases, snuff boxes, panels and so on.

Overall Palekh lacquer miniature has a special recognizable style. Conditional colors and architectural forms, subtle, elongated proportions of the figures, which stand out in gold on a black background, are typical distinguishing features of Palekh miniatures.

Kholuy miniature. The main difference is the use of painting Kholui bluish-green and brown-orange tones. Kholuy miniatures are not only more realistic compared to Palekh miniatures and Mstera, but also more decorative than those of Fedoskino.

School Fedoskino – lacquer miniature, executed with oil paints and covered with several layers of lacquer. Russian realistic painting had a significant impact on Fedoskino style. Favorite subjects of that time were drinking tea, scenes from of rural life, round dances and skating in troikas (oldtime Russian team of three horses). Exceptionally attractive caskets and panels, brooches and boxes of various shapes and sizes with miniature paintings and gold ornaments.

Mstiora miniature – kind of traditional Russian miniature painting by tempera paint on paper mache, formed in the village Mstera on the basis of the local icon painting by the beginning of the 1930s. After the beginning of the 20th century, preserving the principles of iconic letters Mstiora miniaturists turned to themes of peasant life, of Russian folk songs and fairy folklore.

Unlike other Russian lacquer miniatures based on the old Russian icon painting tradition (Palekh and Kholuy) landscape plays a special role in Mstiora miniature. It is written by small patterned strokes on the background of a radiant blue sky. Space is constructed by several picturesque parts and has depth. Usually a composition on the surface of the box is framed by thin elegant gilded ornament, floral painting often covers the side faces of caskets and boxes.

Attention: Be aware that cheap souvenirs are not hand made, they just have a colorful print. If you want to buy a good present, check the item several times so you get sure that it doesn’t look bad at another light.

If you want to buy a genuine lacquer miniature, check the name of the artist and the place of drawing on the irem you are going to get.


Traditional Zhostovo trays

Their production started in the early XIX century. Zhostovo trays or Zhostovo painting on trays is a genre of Russian painting, craft, they are no longer used in everyday life. Now they are a separate independent decorative element of the room.

The most common motive of this painting is often multicolored bouquet on a dark background. This bouquet is necessarily alternated by large garden flowers and small field flowers. Sides of the tray are painted by gold ornaments and everything is covered with a special varnish that gives the tray a characteristic luster.



Since the second half of the 20-s of the XIX century, many ceramic and porcelain products were painted only in blue paint. Gzhel has its own style – dark blue and blue patterns and colors and decorations on white background. The paintings are made with cobalt, which acquires typical Gzhel color during the process.

Traditional Gzhel drawings are folk life stories of the past – sleigh rides,  shrovetide, genre scenes, fairy tale characters, floral and geometric designs. Patterns are unique, because each dish or tray is painted by hand, in a single copy.

Modern masters were able to recreate a multi-color painting, as well as drawings of gold and platinum.


Gorodets painting

- Russian folk art craft. Exists from middle of the XIX century in the town of Gorodets. Bright, concise Gorodets painting was on distaffs, furniture, shutters, doors. The usual drawing were genre scenes, figurines of horses, roosters, floral patterns, made by loose strokes with white and black graphic outlines.


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