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Home > Gallery > Palekh > Over $500

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Title: Tale of little hump-backed horse
Artist: Arapov Andrey Vasilievich
Size: 8x7x7
Size (inches): 3.25x3x3
Price : $1450 SOLD!


This globe-shaped box was painted the talented Palekh artist Andrey Arapov. The whole surface of the globe is covered with colorful scenes that depict episodes from the popular Russian fairy-tale "The Humpbacked Pony". In the upper part of the globe, in the center, the artist depicts the Red Sun, which is the Slavonic god, Yarilo. The Sun has a human face, and it is surrounded with gold and aluminum rays, stars and multicolored clouds. Beneath the Sun, on the sides of the globe we can see the scenes depicting some key moments of the story. One of them shows how Ivan managed to catch the beautiful Tsar Maiden by the tsar's order. The Tsar Maiden, whose mother is the Moon, and whose brother is the Sun, sails in her small boat and plays the gusli, while Ivan is waiting for her. He has prepared a trap for her, setting up a tent with dinner and sweets inside. So, when the maiden enters the tent to taste the food, he will be able to capture her. The next scene shows Ivan and his faithful friend the Humpbacked Pony, standing near the beautiful palace. Beneath them there is the blue lake with different fish and a box inside. This box contains the ring of Tsar Maiden, and it is the next Ivan's task given him by the tsar: to bring the ring lost somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. Then we can see the huge Whale, the back of which is covered with forests, meadows and villages. This monster will help Ivan to find the ring of Tsar Maiden. Ivan and the Whale arrange a deal: Ivan has to find out why the While is punished and suffers loaded with villagers, having no possibility to swim like other fishes; while the While has to find the ring. To find out the reason of the Whale's suffering, Ivan and his pony rise high into the sky on their way to the Moon's palace. The Moon tells Ivan that the Whale is punished because he has swallowed three dozen ships. (this scene is depicted a little above the image of the Whale) After that the Whale lets the ships go, receiving his freedom, whereas Ivan receives the ring. The end of the story is happy: Ivan marries the beautiful Tsar Maiden, while the greedy tsar is punished.
A broad spectrum of colors is used to create this highly detailed world. The artist leaves the sky black, which is one of Palekh's stylistic trademarks, but does not mean that the scene is taking place at night. An ancient technique from icon painters that shows no regard for distance and space on the two-dimensional painted surface of the box. Gold paint and aluminum paints are used to enhance the life and brightness of the scene. Aluminum is found texturing the flow of the river's water, while the gold makes the trees leaves come to life as well as the detail on the buildings in the background. The costumes of the characters are also decorated with gold and aluminum paints. The brushstrokes that attract the eye are very precise, solid, and move very smoothly between every different aspect in the composition.
The pedestal on which the box rest is decorated with beautiful gold and aluminum floral patterns. The box is made out of paper-mache made. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. The lid is hinged and the box is signed with the artist's name, village, and year (2004) on the back side of the pedestal in gold paint.

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