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Home > Gallery > Palekh > Under $500

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Title: Sadko
Artist: Kornilova Nataliya
Size: 26x17x6.5
Size (inches): 10.25x6.75x2.5
Price : $695 SOLD!


Sadko is a wonderful old Russian fable based in ancient Russian Mythology. In the icon-style composition painted on this box, Sadko has descended into the undersea world of Tsar Morskoi, as a live sacrifice to save his stranded ship. Sadko falls to the bottom of the sea and finds himself in the palace of Tsar Morskoi. The King and Queen of the Sea have heard about Sadko's musical talents and ask him to play and to sing for them. They are overjoyed by his music, and decide to keep Sadko in their Sea Tsardom, to be their daughter's bride. But Sadko tells their daughter, Volkhova, that he can't marry her, as he is in love with his wife, Lubava. Volkhova understands that Sadko's devotion to his wife is too strong to be swayed, so she helps him to sneak away, back to Novgorod. Still amorous of Sadko, Volkhova tenderly kisses Sadko 'goodbye' and turns into the river Volkhova which flows from Lake Ilmen to the sea.
The famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin also wrote a famous rendition of this fairy tale. This excerpt from Pushkin's poem Sadko illustrates the last moments before our hero sacrifices himself to Tsar Morskoi (Sea King).

"Oh, my brethren, oh, my brave
men-at-arms! Bring to me my sweet-
sounding gusla, for I wish to play
it one last time. I little think
that I may ever play it again.
Or shall I take it with me when
I descend into the ocean depths?"
He took up his sweet-sounding
gusla and spake these words:
"Cast an oaken board into the blue
sea, that I may stand upon it and
perchance delay my death."
They cast an oaken board into
the deep blue sea, and Sadko leapt
down upon it. And the sea grew
calm at once, and the ships flew
as the crow flies, straight
to their homeland.

The artist who painted this artistic adaptation of the tale, Natalya Kornilova, was born in 1968 in the town of Korkino in the Chelyabinsk region. She now lives in the village of Krasnoe in Palekh region (Ivanovo region). Nataliya graduated from the Palekh Art School in 1989, and studied there under A.V. Gordeev, A.S. Peskov, T.I. Belousova, and N.M. Smirnov.
This box is a magnificent icon-style piece, with a presence which would complement any collection. The artist masterfully combines scenes from Novgorod, the high seas, and from Morskoi's underwater kingdom to tell the story. Kornilova uses swirling waves of blue and green to pull the scenes together into one fantastic composition.
With masterful use of pallet and stroke, Kornilova has created action and motion in her work. The positioning and detailing of each character is beautifully executed with precision and lifelike blending. Gold and aluminum paint is used to carefully ornament the regal garb, to accentuate the mermaids' scales, and to finely highlight the entire scene.
The box is constructed out of paper-mache. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. The beveled lid and the base are ornamented with a string of gold dotted filigree. Around the box's midsection is an ornate gold and aluminum paisley leaf and flower decoration. The box has a hinge above the composition and rests on a flat bottom. Kornilova has signed the bottom right corner of her composition and dated (2000)the bottom left corner.

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