Album "Folk archetypes in Lapidary Art" in the museum Collection photo gallery

“It is impossible to imagine nation that does not have a special, unique customs; these customs ... consist in the form of clothing, the prototype of which is in the country climate, in the forms of domestic and social life ... All these customs ... constitute the physiognomy of a nation, and without them the nation is an image without face".

Vissarion Belinsky

The museum “Collection” gallery of Lapidary works of art - serious and playful – features typical characters and folk types, the recognizable sketches of townsfolk and peasants common life. Collection of Lapidary Art works provides a panoramic view of this ingenious section of decorative art. Figurines carved from stone that depict people with pronounced ethnic and cultural peculiarities in the particular social context, with the signs and features reflecting their professional affiliation, comprise a significant part of the museum “Collection” exposition. Some of those memorable images-symbols of historical and folk types are presented in our new photo album “Folk types in Lapidary Art”.

Jade, lapis lazuli, malachite, jasper and dozens of other gems become warm and alive in artisan’s hands. Carved from stone with the highest plastic expressiveness raise doubts as to the natural hardness of the material – it seems that they are made of anything but stone. Such are "Dairy woman", "Butter Seller", "House painter", "Joiner", "Peasant", "Gypsy", "Coachman", “Water Carrier”, "Janitor", "Boyar", “Accordion Player”, "Merchant" and others.

Close connection with the tradition of depicting "Russian types" is obvious in the artistic solution of these images. Its beginning was laid by the publication in 1817 of the famous edition "The Magic Lantern or the Spectacle of the St. Petersburg common sellers, craftsmen and other common industrialists, depicted with an accurate brush in their authentic attire, and represented by talking to each other, according to each person and rank".*

* This edition is one of the gorgeous illustrated editions of the first quarter of the 19th century - a series of commoners’ portraits. Each character in this book (merchant, artisan, water carrier, etc.) was presented verbally - through dialogue (a kind of recording of urban folklore) - and figuratively - in the form of a coloured engraving. The preface said, "In this edition - as if in a magic lantern - the respectable readers will see skillfully engraved and coloured figures of different persons depicted in various crafts, presented in their authentic attire, talking to each other, similar to their natural position". The text was printed in Russian, French and German.