For me, as a child growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, the Palekh painting style was as synonymous with Russia as Cossack dancing and Matryoshka dolls. It’s been a pleasure to come back to it as an adult and understand a little more about it, from an adult’s point of view.
Palekh is a little town about 200 miles east of Moscow, which was famous as long ago as the 17th Century as a centre for the painting of religious ikons. Ikons were a characteristic part of Eastern Orthodox Christianity; and the church at the time was at the heart of the cultural and political life of Mother Russia.
With the October Revolution in 1917, suddenly there was no market for religious iconography, and Palekh’s painters turned to the decorative arts to make their living.
According to http://www.russianlacquerart.com/cnt/Palekh the painter Ivan Golikov saw a black lacquered box in…
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