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Item #100543

The Twelve Months (2003)

from Palekh by A. Emelyanov
12.13" x 5.50" x 2.63"(31.00 x 14.00 x 5.00 cm)
Inspired by the fairytales:
Twelve Months

Gallery Price: $ 1895.00
Internet Price: $ 1895.00
None currently available
This long box, by Aleksei Emelyanov, depicts the tale of the Twelve Months. In this story, a young girl is sent by her stepmother to bring back some Snowdrop flowers. There's a small problem, though: it's January, and the flowers don't bloom until March! The poor girl has no choice but to go out into the cold forest. But fortunately, she comes across the Twelve Months, who help her by magically changing the seasons so she can get the flowers she needs. This theme is often a showpiece for lacquer artists, as they have a chance to show their skill at depicting a relatively large number of characters, each with a unique appearance. The composition allows the Twelve Months to spread out in a wide arc, so that the scene doesn't seem crowded and the details are shown off nicely. The artist creates fine and elaborate floral and decorative motifs in each of the men's costumes, using delicate lines of gold and aluminum paint, many of which were too fine to show up in the photos here. To be honest, the faces of Emelyanov's characters are not especially varied or expressive, but their body language and the effective use of color and detail set the mood nicely. The characters have a certain lightness, which makes them seem to stand out against the dense forest background. With their stylized poses, rather two-dimensional appearance and elaborate surface decoration, the figures in this work are reminiscent of icons, and there are other compositional techniques that derive from icon art here as well. The scale is rather free: the girl, standing just to the left of the fire, is in a smaller scale than the Twelve Months. Her figure is repeated two more times, once on the far left as she goes out of her home town to look for the flowers her stepmother demanded, and again on the right, as she comes to the clearing where the Twelve Months are sitting. The palette here is quite attractive. The forest is drawn in deep shades of green, and some of the trees on either side of the scene have pale leaves, reflecting the snow of January. The costumes of the girl and the younger months are done predominantly in lighter shades and bright orangeish-red, while the older months have more somber and darker costumes. The general darkness of the palette makes the many gold lines stand out nicely. The gold painting in the forest is interesting, following a slightly more naturalistic shape of the plants than one usually sees in Palekh art.

The box is made of high-quality papier-mache, with a hinge and four legs. The handsome gold ornaments around the side of the box add to the elegant look of this piece. The box is signed with the artist's name, village, title and year (2003). Unusual and impressive looking Palekh work!

Lacquerbox Condition Ratings

Surface Condition (exterior) Surface Condition (interior/bottom) Box Materials and Soundness Hinge and Lid Placement Signature Total Rating Mother-of-pearl Condition

(Each category rated 1-10. For low scores, look for explanation in the description of box. In general, any total rating over 40 is excellent. For more information on rating system, click here.)

Additional Images:

Additional Image #1

Additional Image #2

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