Mstyora 'People's Artist of Russia', Lev Alexandrovich Fomichov...
...was born in 1932 in the village of Mstera (Mstiora, Mstyora, Мстёра) situated in the Vladimir region. Fomichyov is one of the leading third-generation master artists of Mstera. His grandfather was an icon painter and his father A.Ya. Fomichov was a manager of the artel 'Proletarian Art' in Mstyora (A.Ya. Fomichov studied under the famous Russian icon painter Feodor Modorov).
One of Fomichyov's favorite themes to paint are historical subjects and bylinas, or Russian folk epics. This piece shows several scenes from the ancient Russian legend 'Dobrynya the Matchmaker'. Dobrynya Nikitich comes from a long line of heroes who fought for the pride and defense of Russia's lands. One of the deeds Dobrynya is known for is his assistance in the marriage of Prince Vladimir and Rogneda, the Princess of Polotsk. This legend is based on actual historical events.
The paints he uses for his palette are all homemade by Fomichev himself and reflect strong earth tones. In addition, gold paints are used to detail the scene, especially to create the lustrous chain armor of warriors.
The box measures 12x3.75x2.5 inches and is made out of papier-mâché. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. Gold ornamentation frames the composition, while another pattern accented with red and blue flowers runs along the sides of the box. The artist signed his name, the title of the work and 'Mstera 2005' at the bottom of the scene.
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