Of all the art from Russia, one form that stands out is exquisite miniature painting on lacquer boxes. There are four great schools of Russian lacquer named after the towns and villages north of Moscow, all founded several centuries ago.
Fedoskino (Федоскино) is the oldest village tracing its past to the late 18th century. Inspiration is drawn from classical Russian painting, folk scenes, including troika sleighs. The medium is oil and the colors stand out due to enhancement by metallic powders and foils. Sometimes mother-of-pearl is used to great effect. Fedoskino is just a few miles from the center of Moscow, on the banks of the Ucha river. A forerunner, Danilkovo, is on the opposite bank of the river.
Palekh (Палех) is an old icon painting village, thus the style from Palekh is similar to old icons. Egg tempera is used and the colors are bright and vibrant. Palekh is nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles) north-east of Moscow in the Ivanovo region.
Kholui, or Holui (Холуй) is another old icon painting center. Also using tempera, Kholui artists don't stay true to the classical elongated iconic figures of Palekh. Kholui artists have more freedom to express themselves. The river Teza, which runs through Kholui, is prominent in its cultural history.
Mstera and its spelling variations - Mstiora, Mystera (Мстера) artists also use egg tempera, and their boxes can have very decorative free-hand borders. Over 100 years ago, the area was Bogoyavlenskaya Sloboda. The Msterka (or Mstiorka) river runs directly through the village. Mstera derives from the word Masters.
All prices are in USD.