Updates on the Collections Museum website under "Enamel”
The museum website is permanently updated with new exhibits. Today we present updates to the section "Enamel". This section of the collection presents remarkable examples of Russian enamel art and Western European enamel art of the 17th - early 20th centuries. The flawless colour palette, meticulousness of decoration and variety of ornamental techniques, distinguishes all presented in the collection exhibits.
Created both by unknown craftsmen, major artisans and leading jewellers, the collection items show the highest level of enamel art development, the abundance of enamellers' artistic language and their stylistic preferences.
Enamel techniques implemented in decorative arts and jewellery to decorate all kinds of metal art items comprise a peculiar page in the history of Russian jewelry art. All kind of caskets and snuffboxes, tea sets and other items decorated with enamel, turned to treasures, and the artisans that created these masterpieces received worldwide recognition.
A dozen of different enamel techniques exist nowadays. You can get to know them by looking at the items in the museum Collection exposition: Filigree enamel – the essence of this technique is in use of the entwined metal wire that is soldered along the contour of a pattern applied to the surface of the object, thus forming frames of the pattern details. The certain cells are formed, in which color enamel is placed. Filigree enamel is never polished, so as not to damage the pattern made of scanned wire.
Cloisonné enamel - in this technique, the contour of the drawing is primarily scratched, engraved or cut out on the item surface. Then, thin metal strips placed edgeways are soldered along this contour, thereby creating the pattern frames, dividing them by color. Each cell is filled with the definite color to the top of partitions and then baked in furnace. After that, the enamel is ground and polished so that the enamel surface and the partitions’ edges are on the same plane.
Champlevé enamel - this technique requires a sufficient thickness of an item, since the image is applied by means of grooves (notches) on the object surface. The grooves form a pattern outline and the cells, which are filled with enamel, are baked. When this technique is applied, the drawing is deepened into the object surface.
Guilloché enamel - is a variant of the engraving (carving) enamel technique. In this case, engraving is not made manually, but by using a special machine, that decorates the metal surface with repeating geometric patterns: waves, rays, circles, etc. This technique supposes application of transparent enamels only, for the background with the pattern applied on, be visible through the enamel layer.
Stained glass enamel – this technique is actually a kind of cloisonné enamel, but without metal base. The technique got its name because of the similarity with stained glass windows, since colored enamel transmits light. In this technique, openwork ornament is filled with colored transparent enamel, the pattern being preliminarily cut out on the item metal surface.
A thematic photo album, which features the items from the museum Collection exposition, decorated by various enamel techniques, is posted in the museum Photo Gallery.