The history of the origin of Rostov enamel


   Rostov the Great from the 18th century to the present day has been the center of enamel art in Russia.

   Enamel in Russia is called artistic enamel.        There is no consensus regarding the origin of the word "Enamel". Some scholars believe that it comes from the Greek "fingitis", which means "light, shiny stone", while others believe that it comes from the Byzantine word himipet, in turn leading from the Greek verb meaning "to pour, melt''.

   This term is currently used  in relation to the Rostov art craft and is present in the name of the factory of the same name: `` Rostov enamel ''.

   The pioneer of the technique was the French jeweler Jean Toutin. In 1632, he was the first to discover the secret of enamel paints and thereby expanded the scope of the use of artistic enamel.

   Enamel is a glassy mass, which, depending on the metal oxides added to it, is painted in different colors.

   Preserved information about the existence during this period of the enamel workshop at the Rostov bishop's court and individual craftsmen who worked on the orders of monasteries and churches of the city. According to some sources, the founder of miniature painting "Finift" is Metropolitan Arseniy Motseevich. Enamel miniatures adorned objects of church use and the attire of priests: mitres, chalices, gospel frames, altar crosses.

Age-old traditions.

  Since the 1770s, workshops appeared in Rostov that united artisans according to their specialties. Among others, a workshop of icon painters was organized, which included enamel masters.

According to various sources, enamel painters are known who lived and worked in Rostov in the second half of the 18th - first third of the 19th centuries. These are Burov, A. Vsesvyatsky, Gvozdarev, G. Elshin, P. Ivanov, A. Moshchansky, S. Petrov, S. Troitsky, Chainikov.

  During the revolution, hard times came, but many masters, with their devotion to art, were able to preserve the craft and, having united, again restored the artel, which was reorganized after the Great Patriotic War.  to the "Rostov enamel" factory, which to this day carefully preserves the traditions of the first enamel masters.


National art craft "Rostovskaya finift"

 The Soviet period of Russia's life has formed a new ideology, other forms of expression in art. The artel workshop grew into the folk art craft `` Rostov enamel '', like many other crafts, managed to overcome great difficulties, preserved production technologies and revived lost traditions. The new generation of craftsmen determined further creative development.


 In the 60s, the assortment of products significantly expanded, enamel miniatures began to be made in combination with filigree, filigree is a wire lace assembled by the patient hands of a master jeweler. Each element of the jewelry pattern is twisted by hand and glued to paper, then the entire assembled pattern is sprinkled with silver solder powder and soldered with a gas burner.  Thanks to the filigree frame, mass production of various jewelry with painted enamel was established. The staff of the factory was replenished with talented young people - graduates of the Fedoskino and Krasnoselsky schools. Together with the masters of the older generation, the painters brought variety to the theme of painting, the jewelers fruitfully worked on the creation of new forms of products, their role in the design of paintings grew more and more. The best works of these years, made by the painters V. Gorsky, I. Soldatov and the jeweler V. Soldatov, were exhibited at the World Exhibition in Montreal (1967).


  Rostov masters actively participate in exhibitions of various levels - regional, zonal, republican and international. As a result of these exhibitions, a large group of painters and jewelers was admitted to the Union of Artists of Russia. The works of the Rostovites were repeatedly demonstrated at VDNKh. The titles of laureates and medals of VDNH were awarded to A. Kokin, N. Kulandin, L. Samonov, I. Soldatov, V. Soldatova, A. Tikhov, and A. Khaunov. In 1975, the products of Rostov enamel masters were shown at the International Fair in Tokyo, where they aroused great interest of visitors.


Masters of their craft

  The creativity of contemporary Rostov masters is developing in a variety of genre and stylistic directions. N. Kulandin has established himself as a master of historical, genre and portrait miniatures. The genre of historical miniature took the main place in the work of the painter V. Grudinin. A. Zaitsev received recognition as a master of military - historical portrait. A. Tikhov and V. Kochkin found themselves in the genre of lyrical landscape. The multifaceted work of A. Khaunov is the author of subject compositions, portraits, landscapes and flower paintings. The works of A. Alekseev, who is also known for his successful experiences in the field of enamel technology, were performed in different genres. The artists B. Mikhailenko and V. Polyakov showed interest in a variety of genres. Flower painting, which has been in the craft since the 1920s, was further developed in miniatures created by T. Mikhailenko, E. Kotova, L. Samonova, N. Serova and I. Alekseeva.

High appreciation for creativity

   The high appraisal of the work of artists N. Kulandin and A. Khaunov, jewelers L. Matakova and V. Soldatova was expressed in the awarding of the titles of laureates of the State Prize of Russia. I.E. Repin.

   Works of old and modern Rostov masters are kept in the State Historical Museum, the State Russian Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, the Armory Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin, the State Museum-Reserve Rostov Kremlin and other museum collections and private collections in Russia and abroad.

   Along with the painted enamel, the factory uses cloisonné enamel, which decorates and emphasizes filigree, giving the products completeness and  brightness. By experimenting with different enamel techniques, artists are able to play with colors and volumes.

   Following the traditions developed by the masters of the past decades, contemporary artists continue to work with success in floral, landscape, historical, icon painting, portraiture and other genres.

   The Rostov enamel brand is known all over the world and for over 100 years the Rostov enamel factory has been keeping the technologies and traditions of this bright type of miniature painting.

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