Thursday, December 29, 2011

Russian Enamels at the Walters

An exhibit worth visiting (or at least reading about).
Enamels, made by fusing powdered glass onto metal in a kiln, are one of Russia’s most well-known art forms. Enamels can be created in a variety of colors and works can take many forms. Producers included Faberge, which was known for its elaborate egg-shaped artworks incorporating enamel as well as jewels....

Highlights include a filigree enamel tankard inspired by a 17th-century Turkish prototype from the Kremlin Armory and a beaker with a design outlined in metal and filled with colored enamels without a backing, creating a stained glass effect. Twelve pieces are currently on display and the museum said it is developing an exhibition that will open in the spring of 2015 and later go on tour.

Johnston said the Riddell works are mainly from Moscow, which was undergoing a revival of tradition Russian enamel making in the 19th century. The most distinctive method used filigree in which twisted wires rather than flat strips of metal were attached to a silver base to separate the various colored enamels.

“It was characteristic of Moscow enamels in the 17th century, so that’s why they revived it,” Johnston said. “The wire protrudes above the surface and it has a decorative effect.” (Read entire article.)

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