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Home > Gallery > Palekh > Under $500

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Title: Nutcracker
Artist: Kurilov Vladimir
Size: 17x10.5x3.5
Size (inches): 1x1x1
Price : $480 SOLD!


This untraditional scene for the Palekh lacquer art was painted by the famous Palekh artist Vladimir Kurilov. His ability to depict dynamic animation is second to none. A distinct blend of well detailed characters, spectacular color treatment and the precise highlights convey professional skill as well as divine creativity.
Here we see a glorious depiction of a story told throughout many a generation,"The Nutcracker". E.T.A Hoffman, the author of "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," never intended the story to be for children, as his words portrayed a harshness of humanity and relationships. Published in 1816, Hoffman's tale would undergo revision by Alexander Dumas, eliminating much of the bitterness to adapt the tale as a children's story. The new version was read with interest by Marius Petipas, the senior ballet master of the Russian Imperial Ballet, who hired Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to compose a score for a full length "Nutcracker" production. The story would later be simplified (but with the music left intact) and was created as a holiday tale that has lasted generations.
Hoffman's plot centers around a girl named Marie. Her Godfather Drosselmeier gives the impressionable girl a nutcracker doll as a gift on the eve of the family Christmas party. He also tells the little girl a sad story about his nephew who has been turned into this nutcracker doll. In the beginning, a beautiful princess Pirlipat is cursed to become forever ugly by the Mouse King's mother. The only way to stop the curse is for a brave and handsome man to find the hardest nut in the world, crack it with his teeth, and deliver the kernel to the princess to eat. To sweeten the hunt, the king has promised his daughter's hand in marriage and a grand money award to anyone who can break the curse. At the final moment when the curse is to take effect, Drosselmeier's nephew appears with the prized nut and offers her the kernel. The moment she swallows the nut, she turns into a breathtakingly beautiful woman. At the same time, young Drosselmeier becomes repulsively ugly with elongated features like those of a wooden nutcracker (hence the name). No one ever bothered to tell him that he would inherit the curse in place of the princess. Instead of a fairy tale ending, the princess is repelled by Drosselmeier's ugliness and has her father banish him permanently from the kingdom or face execution. In the commotion, Drosselmeier accidentally steps on the Mouse King's mother and kills her, prompting eternal vengeance on the Nutcracker. At night after the party is over and Marie lay asleep, an army of ruthless mice overcome her bedroom. Marie does not realize that she is in a fantasy dream world. The mice are led by the vicious Mouse King. Marie's nutcracker doll comes to life in an attempt to save the day! The nutcracker fails although Marie defeats the Mouse King with one swift throw of her slipper. The nutcracker again turns into the handsome Prince and marries Marie. The dream of Marie is wonderful: she is happy and dances with the Nutcracker the whole night long under the New Year's tree and her happiness seems to be endless. This ending disguises all of the bitterness in previous portions of Hoffman's story.
At the end of their journey through this wondrous place, which also turns out to be the end of the evening, Marie is brought back to her bedroom. The story closes on a bright note as Marie meets and marries Drosselmeier's nephew, but the abrupt ending and change of good fortune appear to be added on to disguise all of the bitterness in previous portions of Hoffman's story.
This composition show the battle of the Nutcracker with the Mouse King. In the background there is the Nutcracker's army composed of wooden toy soldiers. The artist chooses bold palette that include bright reds, pinks, oranges and greens to paint this scene. The application of gold contouring grants this piece its intensely festive flare.
The composition is framed with the beautiful patterns gold patterns composed of gold beads and floral designs. The sides of the box are decorated with gold and aluminum floral patterns. The box is constructed from paper-mache. The exterior of the box is painted with black lacquer while the interior is completed with dark red lacquer. A hinge is fastened to the top of the composition and the box rests on a flat bottom. The artist writes his name, the village name of Palekh and the year of 2004 at the bottom of the composition.

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