Kholmogorsk bone carving ... What could be more poetic, easier than this eternal openwork of frosty winter patterns. Stylized herbs woven into a beautiful ornament decorating brooches, cameos, vases, goblets, caskets?
In the Russian North there are many protected places famous for their beauty, culture, art, important historical events. One of them is the village of Lomonosovo - the birthplace of M.V. Lomonosov and F.I. Fur coat. But the historical role of these places is not only in this, but also in the fact that it is the birthplace of the wonderful, unique art of bone carving. Kholmogorsk carved bone is the pride of Russian culture.
The appearance of the art of bone carving in these places is not accidental: the proximity of the icy white sea, fishing and walrus hunting near the island. Vaigach, Novaya Zemlya, Svalbard (Gruman) gave the material - "fish tooth". Influenced the development of fishing and the favorable geographical position of Kholmogor. They were in the center of the commercial, industrial and cultural life of the North. Since ancient times, the craft has been honed and handed down to children and grandchildren from generation to generation. On long winter evenings, almost all the villagers engaged in bone carving.
Kholmogorsk bone carving became widely known as far back as the 17th century. Even then, the products of the northern masters were very popular at the royal court, and the craftsmen themselves, the Sheshenin brothers, were called to Moscow to work in the Armory. The first written mention of the Kholmogorsk carvers dates back to this time.
XVIII century - the heyday of the Kholmogorsky trade. By the beginning of the century, Kholmogory masters knew no equal. Skillfully made items from walrus, ivory and mammoth - bracelets, decorative cups, caskets, snuff boxes and boxes, combs, miniature secretaries, plates with portraits were in great demand, were widespread throughout the North and further - throughout Russia. Refined in form, combining ornament with plot relief images, color engraving, elegant products made by the technique of execution were in great demand. Russian tsars revered this ancient art. According to the protocols of the Supreme Privy Council, Empress Catherine I kept her personal belongings in two Kholmogory caskets. It is reliably known that the Kholmogorsk carver Osip Dudin repeatedly bought chess for the heir to the tsar’s throne, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich. In 1798, the reigning couple Pavel I and Maria Fedorovna received from the carver N. S. Vereshchagin, who lived for a long time both in Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg, paired vase-shaped vases stored today in the State Hermitage Museum.
In the work of N. S. Vereshchagin manifested features associated with the onset of a new artistic style of the era - classicism. This is a strict graphic carving, a special grace of a geometrical ornament in contrast to the whimsical Rococo curls. Magnificent colorfulness, as one of the features of the design of carved bones of the 18th century, is gradually replaced by the cold and austere beauty of art. Shell curls, typical of the Rococo style, give way to a pattern that is strictly patterned, and the complex forms of products by Kholmogory carvers of the last century are replaced by simpler ones. A definite pattern of the pattern is characteristic of the northern carved bone of the first half of the 19th century. On a small diamond-shaped grid, flower garlands are placed.
Carved works were the most favorite and popular among the Kholmogory masters. But often they also cut sculptures. Achieving significant success in this direction. They were not limited to a single figure of a deer, bear or man, but often created whole groups connected by a common idea (for example, hunting for bears, the sacrifice of Abraham, the Nenets camp, etc.).
Things performed by northern bone cutters dispersed throughout Russia and abroad, were successful at exhibitions, where craftsmen received awards and prizes. If in bone carving art of the 1820s. exquisite craftsmanship and logical harmony of the figure are clearly visible, which are combined with the simple constructive form of the object, then in the 1830s. there is an interest in elegant carvings, sometimes devoid of practical meaning. These are miniature pieces of furniture, sewing boxes, in the form of a steam locomotive with wheels, plaques, boxes, etc., decorated with a flat slot of a thin branchy plant pattern such as seaweed or herbs.
The desire to find a market for their products forced the bone cutters of the second half of the 19th century to manufacture a large number of simple products - spoons with smooth handles, paper knives, cufflinks, buttons, cigarette cases, snuff boxes, handles for umbrellas and canes, etc. These were high-quality but artistically weak things. Only in special cases, on orders or for exhibitions, were highly artistic works created. At the same time, inpidual masters still continue to create unique things in composition and in technique. At this time, the activities of the Bobretsov's son and father, Ilya Doronin, marked in 1861 with an award for art and knowledge in bone carving, were accounted for.
Since the second half of the 19th century, there has been a sharp decline in bone carving, which could not stand the competition with rapidly growing factory production, which threw into the market a mass of beautiful, and much cheaper than bone products. The art of bone carving is mastered by only a few masters. Trying to revive the fading trade, local authorities in 1885 opened a class of bone carving at the Lomonosov village school. This class lasted 15 years, without significant results, and was closed in 1900 due to the lack of students.
However, in the history of Kholmogorsk art, the class of bone carving did its job. M.I.
In the XX century, carving again attracted attention, and its systematic revival began. On October 1, 1934, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted a special decree on measures and ways for the development of the Kholmogory carving. A whole set of measures allowed to restore the former glory of this art, the "Gold Medal Diploma" of the world exhibition in Paris in 1937 attracted additional attention to it, and a constant state order made Kholmogory carving one of the visiting cards of Soviet Russia. As for stylistic development, the period from the 1930s to the beginning of the 1950s passed under the banner of the pomp of the Stalinist Empire based on the classics of the turn of the 18th-19th centuries. The end of the fifties is marked by the narration of genre plots, new decorativeness and enlargement of forms. The sixties did not escape the influence of the "harsh style" of socialist construction. The seventies became a time of a new appeal to the historical heritage, when they again returned to the use of many traditional techniques and elements as applied to modern Soviet themes and stylistics. A characteristic feature of the 90s of the XX century is the growth of the inpidual beginning in the work of masters. Despite economic difficulties, favorable conditions are developing for the development of creative thought and inpiduality of master artists while preserving the spirit and image of traditional Kholmogory bone carving. Artists - bone carvers, mastering the masterly technique of craftsmanship, perform various creative works using both traditional plots and modern approaches to mastering the material, giving new life, developing new trends in the bone carving art of the North. Among the leading modern bone cutters can be called masters: M.A. Khristoforov, G.F. Osipov, V.N. Khabarov, V.Ya Kuznetsov, N.D. Butorina, V.S. Lokhov, V.A. Prosvirnina, N.I. Zachinyaeva, V.T. Vatlina, I.I. Maklakova work, which are exhibited in many museums in Russia and abroad.
In the village of Lomonosovo, at the factory of art bone carving, mass products for sale and unique thematic things are also made from walrus, mammoth and simple beef bone-tarsus. At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Kholmogorsk industry not only retains its creative position, but also develops fruitfully.