Studio: international art — 22.1901

Page: 269
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Russian Decorative Art

_ ___ thread, the designs over a hundred years

old, which are regularly handed down
from mother to daughter. It is generally

!Sj&J&aBBaim^MM^^»..... _^1 j admitted that the embroidery and drawn-

^K!;>j^^^^^^^^P ^ thread work furnish what is most charac-

■■ kfiJHEfib teristic, original, and important in old

Russian art; but for quaintness and
exquisite appropriateness their wood
objects cannot be beaten. In the shape
w"^^! of the various vessels, as well as in their

decoration, we feel that wood is a familiar
and loved possession of this people, who
still remain carvers rather than carpenters,
IjfiitetT-" preferring their primitive tools to any

4HHK>»j' ■ _______ modern inventions in the labour-saving

v **-4£tr'.liX-f*w"*rj? ^^fS^' ' " direction, when by chance they happen

**«5 s&SH&8bkP^*&^ to meet with these.

\£4 ySsSi^Mt^ 0\~»imJ*'"* With more than half of the enormous
. p.^ ^^SSSsS^^^^^m peasant population turning out domestic

l*'f ^SSsjly utensils and woven materials which are

r*v/ ^j*^ perfect treasures from the artistic point of

||P§^ -,t ... ;~~ • view—though they are certainly far from

v-> - —" correct," or what we call " finished"—

7< \ '\^t^ _____----

t x it is not surprising that the group of Mus-

etagfre designed by helen folenoff covite artists (including such well-known

therefore his art is spontaneous, sane, vigorous,
and serene.

It may seem strange when writing of decorative
art to refer to the Russian peasant; but, in
order to understand the origin of this move-
ment, it is necessary to realise the importance
of the Rural Industries to lovers of all that is
genuinely Russian. Through these the earliest
expression of Russian art has been preserved
intact. In some few villages near the large towns
modifications may be observable; but in the depths
of the country, as the peasant's forefather felt and
expressed in by-gone days, so does he feel and
express to day. In other countries the rapid
development of machinery and the intrusion of the
railway has effectually wiped out cottage industries,
except in some remote spots. In Russia the long
period of intense cold which prevails all over the
northern portion obliges the peasant to have some
indoor occupation ; instinctively, thererore, he
decorates the material at hand, which he turns into
the necessary utensils for daily use, disposing of
these at the village fair, or, more rarely, at the
nearest town. The women spin, weave, and_dye
their linen and woollen goods with vegetable dyes;
they copy on their chemises—high-necked, long- embroidery designed by n. davidoff

sleeved garments—either in embroidery or drawn- executed by the women of solomenka

269
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