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Title: Tale of Ruslan and Ludmila
Artist: Shemarov Alexander
Size: 13x8.5x16.5
Size (inches): 5x3.25x6.5
Price: $1295 $995

This handsome big-sized work was done by a well-known Palekh artist Alexander Shemarov who's participated in various exhibitions. The box depicts several scenes from the Pushkin's fairy-tale "Ruslan and Ludmila".
The method of combining several scenes helps the artist to paint a complex and long story. Some of the more tumultuous action from the story were chosen by the artist and it seems that different actions are happening at the same time. This is accomplished through the iconographic method of artistic application, which allows multiple elements of time and space to coexist on the same surface.
On the lid of the box the artist depicts the major hero Ruslan on a horse at the palace of evil dwarf magician Chernomor. On the right hand side we can see Giant Head. It isn't easy to defeat the Head. By means of his blowing, the Giant Head can kill anybody, creating a powerful gust of wind. Ruslan will manage to win over the Head and find a shining sword underneath his foe. The conquered Head will tell Ruslan that his beloved bride is in captivity of the evil wizard Chernomor and also clue the secret of Chernomor's magic power. All his power was contained in his long beard. Ruslan will have to cut off Chernomor's beard with the shining sword and his power will be gone as well.
On the front side (half-sphere) we can see a battle of Ruslan and Chernomor. The magician has a threatening appearance. He is holding in his arms a bludgeon; his magic beard and bright blue cape are beating in the wind. But Ruslan holds his beard and have a sword in his other hand, and they are flying in the sky...
The palace has a suitably fantastic appearance, with graceful spires, elaborate series of towers, and walls, and fine decoration on some of the walls and roofs. It is drawn in shades of green, brown and red, giving it a rich and exotic look. Chernomor's captive Ludmila is standing on a balcony of the palace looking into the distance in the hope of seeing her suiter Ruslan who will save her from captivity.
In the back side of the box we can see the happy end of the story. Ruslan has saved Ludmila, and they are together coming home on Ruslan's warhorse.
The artist fills the scene with lots of action and detail. Ruslan's horse is standing still, but its heavy body and the outline of its muscles suggest that it is powerful in motion.
The box is made of paper-mache. Black lacquer is used to paint the exterior of the piece while red lacquer completes the interior of the box. The lid is hinged from the top of the composition. The edges of the lid are adorned with nice gold beading. The edges of sides of the box are patterned with large blooms of flowered golden filigree. The box rests flat. The box is signed with the artist's name, village and year (2010).

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