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Home > Gallery > Palekh > Over $500

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Title: Tale of a Swineherd
Artist: Smirnova Vera
Size: 7x6x11
Size (inches): 2.75x2.5x4.5
Price : $1850 SOLD!


Vera Smirnova of Palekh created this lacquer art masterpiece. She is part of a family of artists who are very well known in the village. Her sister, Tatyana paints exceptionally well and has a daughter Kseniya (Vera's niece), who also contributes tremendously to Palekh art and its evolution.
Here she has chosen to depict the tale entitled, "The Swineherd", written by Hans Christian Andersen. This tale tells about the capricious Princess who was punished for her self-conceit and foolishness.
The poor Prince fell in love with the capricious Princess. He presented her the nightingale that twittered tender melodies and the rose grown on the grave of his father. He made these presents with all his heart in the hope of marrying the Princess. But the light-headed Princess disregarded his good intension and ridiculed his presents. Bitterly resentful Prince disguised himself as a poor man and took a job at court of the Princess's father. He became the Swineherd intending to punish the Princess. To attract the Princess's attention, he invented different technical toys. One of them was the magic pot adorned with little jingling bells. If somebody decided cook dish using this pot, it started singing an old song:
"Ah! Dear Augustine!
All is gone, gone, gone!"

The Swineherd showed this pot to the Princess and she wanted to become its owner at any price. The Swineherd's price was very high - one hundred kisses of the Princess. The Princess kissed the Swineherd, and the King saw this scene by chance. Looking at his dear daughter kissing shamelessly with the dirty Swineherd, he became furious and drove her out of the kingdom. Afterwards the Swineherd took off his dirty clothes, washed his face and again became the handsome young Prince. This time the Princess wanted to marry him, but the Prince couldn't excuse her.
The whole surface of the box is covered with various scenes from this thrilling tale (except its bottom). As customary with Palekh tradition, the black lacquer exterior also acts like the background for the scene. This furthers the beauty of the box tremendously. The palette is very bright and vividly shows each character.
Using large pieces of lustrous gold and silver metal leaves within the costumes of the characters, Smirnova decorates the box with an eclectic assembly of elegance and intricacy. The composition is an utter delight and a bouquet of brilliance.
The box is made out of paper-mache. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. The box isn't hinged and rests on a flat bottom. The work is signed and titled by the artist.

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