Russian handicrafts: Zhostovo painting

Today, it is exhibited by major national museums and included into the State index of the most valuable cultural objects of The Russian Federation.

 

The Zhostovo method is an old Russian folk handicraft style of painting on metal trays, which still flourishes in the village of Zhostovo, 40 km from Moscow. In 1825 local workshops began making trays from papier mache, but soon they learned a new method – forging metal. Three craftsmen are involved in the production - a smith, who forges and hammers out the tray, a spatler, who covers it with a base material to paint on, and a painter. After the tray is dried, the spatler covers it with lacquer.

The Zhostovo painting style is remarkable for its free, bountiful and rich stroke. Аrtists never work with established patterns. They paint many things, but a variety of mixed garden and wild flowers have become synonymous with their art form. 'Zhostovo formed its own style – this is a mix of folk, academic and professional painting', says Mikhail Lebedev, Zhostovo’s leading artist. In the early 20th century the Zhostovo painting school went into decline.

During Soviet times it was brought back to life when a painting class at a local school was opened. Masters have passed on the knowledge of this unique painting style from generation to generation. Today, it is exhibited by major national museums and included into the State index of the most valuable cultural objects of The Russian Federation.

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