Palekh miniature painting (Палехская миниатюра) is the most traditional and most sought after of the Russian miniaturist painting styles. It is done with tempera paints on lacquered boxes made of papier-mâché. While the lacquer art first appeared around 1923, its predecessors were icon painters, hence, during the era of Soviet Russia, Palekh was essentially sublimated iconography.
Bright tempera paints are used over a black background. The artists are known for their delicate and smooth design, abundance of golden shading, and accurate silhouettes of flattened figures. Tempera is a difficult medium in which to work and is unforgiving in its outcomes. Landscapes and architecture, and elongated proportions of the figures harken back to the icon painting traditions.
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