Fedoskino Style

Fedoskino lacquer miniatures can be recognized by the use of thin layers of oil based paints and a realistic style. Frequently Fedoskino paintings are illuminated with an underlayment of silver, gold leaf, or inlaid mother-of-pearl. This technique of translucent painting adds depth to the scene, highlights important details, and can create a radiant quality to the piece. To achieve this effect a glaze (transparent layer of paint) is applied all over another color, a ground of metal leaf or mother-of-pearl so that light passes through and is reflected back by the undersurface and modified by the glaze. This painting technique is particularly effective for portraits and landscapes.

Common characteristics of Fedoskino paintings include correct proportions of figures and illumination with silver, gold, or mother-of-pearl. Border ornaments tend to be simple or nonexistent, though finer boxes may have borders painted in a floral motif, inlaid with silver or gold (skan) in a geometric pattern, or a crosshatch design (Scotch tartan). Other distinctive touches include marbled lacquer effects and smoked lacquer with the appearance of tortoiseshell. Fedoskino lacquer boxes are generally signed with the artist's name, village name and the year in the lower edge of the painting using a complementary color.

"Vasilisa the Frog Princess" 1978 by Gennady Larishev

"Ivan the Prince" 1975 by Gennady Larishev

Portraits and reproductions of classical oil paintings are particularly suited to the Fedoskino style of painting. Works such as "Boy and Girl with Dog" by Igor Isaev (shown in the image to the right) are hand painted using very fine brushes, resulting in a finished painting with all the detail and emotional quality of a true work of art.

More commonly available are the Fedoskino Factory boxes produced by apprentices who hand paint copies of scenes from Russian fairy tales and folk life based on models produced by earlier master artists. Such paintings are more affordable and can be quite beautifully done. Examples of this category of painting are found in the two boxes "Ivan" and "Vasilisa" from the tale of the Frog Princess. The original composition

A box produced in the official Fedoskino workshop will have a the hallmark of a racing troika (three horse sleigh) in gold or yellow stamped under the lid. Please note, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the new free market, many of the best lacquer miniature artists now work for themselves from their own homes, thus many very fine, authentic Fedoskino boxes will not have this hallmark.

The Russian American Company has a large selection of Fedoskino boxes from contemporary museum quality works by current Fedoskino masters to works from the Soviet era and pre-revolutionary antiques from the Lukutin and Vishnyakov workshops.

In Fedoskino, landscapes and architectural paintings are enhanced by the use of mother-of-pearl and gold leaf to illuminate the painting.

Random House / Grandfather Frost / Alaska Gallery

Russian American Company