Museum staff congratulates Muscovites and guests of the capital on the City Day
Moscow had always been famous for its skilled craftsmen and was considered one of the centres of high artistic culture, established over the previous centuries. Various crafts and trades developed here, including gold and silver business, on the basis of which various forms of art industry emerged in the 18th -19th centuries. "Art industry" is a term that entered Russian reality only in the 19th century (German "Kunstgewerbe" and close to it French "arts appliqués" characterise arts and crafts as applied art, in which art form is combined with useful properties). In Moscow, where the production of gold and silver items held a special place, there were many workshops engaged in various productions: creating unique jewellery, making art household items, utensils, as well as gold and silver leaf and bullion.
Until the middle of the 19th century in Moscow, apart from the firm of Sazikov, no large enterprise engaged in the production of gold and silver items had emerged. It was only in 1851 (according to other sources - in 1854), that Pavel Ovchinnikov, an artisan and silversmith, founded a firm in Moscow (trade related production -- factory and shops), which later became one of the most renown in Russia. Pavel Ovchinnikov (1830-1888) was one of the founders of the Russian jewelry style, as well as an honorary citizen of Moscow, a member of the Merchant council and the Stock-market committee. The production department of Ovchinnikov firm was located in Moscow in the First Goncharny Lane in the house of Lezhnev and Biryukova. The firm trade divisions in Moscow were represented by the shops in Kuznetsky Bridge (the house of Vargin) and Ilyinka street (the house of Khludov)
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In the second half of the 19th century, two main artistic "schools" in decorative and applied arts were formed in Russia -- one in St. Petersburg and the other -- in Moscow. In the capital, the orientation towards Western European culture and fashion was maintained, while in Moscow during this period the national forms of art were emerging, which was reflected in the works of gold and silver workshops. For example, wine glasses were often made in the form of large buckets or grace cups with stops and ladles, repeating the shapes and ornamentation of Old Russian utensils.
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Jewelry art highlighted another peculiar trend -- reproduction in silver of the texture of various materials -- fur, leather, fabric, wood. Products imitating these materials became widespread in the 1860s and 1880s.
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Ivan Khlebnikov was 52 years old when in 1871, he opened "Moscow factory of gold, silver and diamond items in the Yauzskaya region, in the house of Naryshkin". The main building still stands at the corner of Yauzskaya Street and Ryumina Lane (formerly Shvivogorsky Lane), along which the former factory buildings are located. The factory shops were located in the best shopping places of the city: in the Silver Row, on Kuznetsky Most and Ilyinka Street in Moscow. The factory was closed in the summer of 1917, after which it was nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918, and transformed into the Moscow Platinum Factory.
Orest Kurlyukov started independent production at the end of the 19th century, creating a reputation that rivalled the most prestigious firms in Russia. Orest Kurlyukov was the son-in-law of Ivan Khlebnikov, for some time he was a member of the board of his trading house and served as its manager for several years. Having mastered many subtleties, familiar with the best jewelry masters, demand characteristics, with the support of Ivan Khlebnikov, Kurlyukov opened his own gold and silverware factory in 1883. The building of the factory was located in house No. 4 of Kolpachny Lane. The house has been preserved and is the architectural monument of regional significance.
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The names of Sazikov, Ovchinnikov, Khlebnikov and other Moscow artisans of this period bring back the images of Russian heroic epic ballades and historical legends, embodied in silver sculptural groups, variations of ancient Russian utensils - polychrome enamel ladles, grace cups and chalices.
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The representatives of the national orientation mainly concentrated in Moscow, differing in their artistic aspirations from the "Western" position of St. Petersburg artisans, grouped mainly around Carl Faberge. It should be noted that a branch of his firm operated in Moscow as well (since 1887). The Moscow branch of the Fabergé firm was founded by Carl Fabergé with the participation of his companion, British citizen Allan Bowe. The building of the factory - San Galli Passage -- was located in Bolshoy Kyselny lane, 4. The shop of the firm was located in the "diamond street" of the ancient capital -- Kuznetsky Bridge, in the house of the Moscow Merchant Society.
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On the day of Moscow are recollecting renowned Moscow artisans of the past, whose works are widely represented in the museum Collection exposition.