Rostov the Great from the 18th century to the present day is the center of enamel art in Russia.
Enamel in Russia is called enamel art. There is no consensus on the origin of the word Enamel. Some scholars believe that it comes from the Greek “fingeritis”, which means “light, brilliant stone”, while others believe that it came from the Byzantine word chemipet, which in turn originates from the Greek verb meaning “pouring,” melt''.
Currently, this term is used in relation to the Rostov art craft and is present in the factory name of the same name: Rostov enamel
The discoverer of the technique was the French jeweler Jean Tutin. In 1632, he was the first to discover the secret of enamel paints and thereby expanded the scope of the use of artistic enamel.
Enamel is a glassy mass, which, depending on the metal oxides added to it, is painted in various colors.
There is information about the existence of an oil-painting workshop at the Rostov Bishop’s Court and individual craftsmen who worked on orders from the monasteries and churches of the city. According to some sources, the founder of the miniature painting “Finift” is Metropolitan Arseniy Matseevich. Enamel miniatures adorned church articles and priests' robes: miter, chalice, salary of the Gospels, altar crosses.
Centuries-old traditions. Unique style.
The history of the birth of the Rostov enamel
From the 1770s, workshops appeared in Rostov, uniting artisans by their specialties. Among others, an icon painters workshop was organized, which included enamel masters.
According to various sources, painters by enamel, who lived and worked in Rostov in the second half of the XVIII - the first third of the XIX centuries, are known. These are Burov, A. Vsesvyatsky, Gvozdarev, G. Yelshin, P. Ivanov, A. Moshchansky, S. Petrov, S. Troitsky, Dummies.
Hard times came during the revolution, but many masters, with their devotion to art, were able to maintain their craft and, united, again restored the artel, which after the Great Patriotic War was reorganized into the Rostov Enamel Factory, which to this day carefully preserves the traditions of the first enamel masters.
The Soviet period of Russia's life formed a new ideology, other forms of expression in art. The art workshop turned into a folk art craft called Rostov Enamel, like many other crafts, managed to overcome great difficulties, preserved production technologies and revived the lost traditions. A new generation of masters determined further creative development.
In the 60s, the range of products significantly expanded, enamel miniatures began to be made in combination with a scan, scan is lace from wire assembled by the patient hands of a master jeweler. Each element of the jewelry pattern is manually twisted and glued to paper, then the whole assembled pattern is sprinkled with silver powder-solder and soldered with a gas burner. Thanks to the scanned frame, mass production of various jewelry with painted enamel has been established. The factory staff was replenished with talented youth - graduates of the Fedoskinsky and Krasnoselsky schools. Together with the masters of the older generation, painters brought variety to the subject of murals, jewelers worked fruitfully to create new forms of products, their role in the design of paintings was increasing. The best works of these years, performed by painters V. Gorsky, I. Soldatov and jeweler V. Soldatov, were exhibited at the World Exhibition in Montreal (1967).
The creativity of modern Rostov masters is developing in a variety of genre and stylistic directions. N. Kulandin established himself as a master of historical, genre and portrait miniatures. The genre of historical miniature took the main place in the work of the painter V. Grudinin. A. Zaitsev was recognized as a master of military - historical portrait. A. Tikhov and V. Kochkin found themselves in the genre of lyrical landscape. The multifaceted work of A. Khaunov - the author of plot compositions, portraits, landscapes and flower paintings. The works of A. Alekseev, who is also known for his successful experiments in the field of enamel technology, have been performed in different genres. Interest in a wide variety of genres was manifested by the artists B. Mikhailenko and V. Polyakov. The floral painting, which has been in business since the 1920s, was further developed in miniatures created by T. Mikhailenko, E. Kotova, L. Samonova, N. Serova and I. Alekseeva.
Rostov masters actively participate in exhibitions of various levels - regional, zonal, republican and international. According to the results of these exhibitions, a large group of painters and jewelers was admitted to the Union of Artists of Russia. Repeatedly, the work of Rostovtsev was demonstrated at VDNH. The titles of laureates and medals of VDNH were awarded to A. Kokin, N. Kulandin, L. Samonova, I. Soldatov, V. Soldatova, A. Tikhov, and A. Khaunov. In 1975, the products of Rostov enamel masters were shown at the International Fair in Tokyo, where visitors aroused great interest.
A high appreciation of the works of artists N. Kulandin and A. Khaunov, jewelers L. Matakova and V. Soldatova were expressed in conferring on them the titles of laureates of the State Prize of Russia named after I.E. Repin.
The works of old and modern Rostov masters are kept in the State Historical Museum, the State Russian Museum, the State Hermitage, the Armory of the Moscow Kremlin, the State Museum-Reserve Rostov Kremlin and other museum collections and private collections in Russia and abroad.
Along with painted enamel, the factory uses cloisonne, which adorns and emphasizes the scan, giving the product completeness and brightness. Experimenting with different enamel techniques, artists have the opportunity to play with colors and volumes.
Following the traditions developed by masters of past decades, contemporary artists successfully continue to work in the floral, landscape, historical, icon-painting, portrait and other genres.
The Rostov enamel brand is known all over the world and for over 100 years the Rostov Enamel factory has been preserving the technologies and traditions of this bright type of miniature painting.