SHOWCASE 16. EMBROIDERY OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE 17TH CENTURY.

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Showcase 16. Embroidery of the second half of the 17th century. The Moscow Kremlin with its numerous royal production workshops was the centre of Russian artistic life in the second half of the 17th century. This fully referred to the Tsarina's needlework chamber, where at least fifty gold embroideresses worked in the middle of the century, and over 80 by the 1690s. They were led by two noblewomen (boyar), who handed out the materials and supervised the work. Different artistic and technological methods testify not only to numerous draft icon painters and craftswomen but also to their belonging to different artistic directions.

The abundance of gold sewing, as well as dense shadow modelling in faces, remains typical for the works of the Tsarina's workshop of this period. Faces are drawn with wide dark stripes, a rough angular line surrounds the eyes, go to the temples, mark the wrinkles on his forehead, creating the impression of a masked face or glasses.

The ganfalon with the image of the Archistratigus Michael presented in the showcase dates back to the middle - second half of the 17th century, and is distinguished by professionally made pattern, accurate inscription with ornate letters and thorough needlework..

A pall "Metropolitan Alexius" refers to the works of the Tsarina's needlework chambers of the same period. The drawing was created by Simon Ushakov, embroidered by craftswoman Stepanida Petrova. In the artistic solution, the image of the Metropolitan is inspired by his previously embroidered images. Unlike other palls made in the Tsarina's workshops of that time, it is remarkable for its finely wrought features, which has almost no shades. The middle part background is decorated with a virtuoso reproduction of samite, a precious Italian fabric.

In the second half of the 17th century, the pictorial embroidery was created not only in the capital—in royal and numerous boyars' workshops, but also sewing workshops in rich merchants' houses. In the 17th century, merchants' role in Russia increased significantly. The most famous are the works, which came out of the needlework chambers of the noble Stroganov family. The family of industrialists and merchants made a significant contribution to Russian culture. The temples built by them, the icons commissioned or made in their "icon chambers", the works of the needlework chambers in their estates in Solvychegodsk and Perm, have their distinctive features, their style, often called "Stroganov's". Stroganov's sewing workshops existed for over a hundred years, working under the guidance of different housewives. In 1650-1670s the needlework chamber in Solvychegodsk was headed by the wife of Dmitry Andreevich - Anna Ivanovna - a skilled embroideress. This was the period of workshops' heyday and the time when a special "Stroganov’s" style got its final shape. In contrast to the works of the tsar's and other workshops, the palls made in Stroganovs' workshops stood out not only for their beautiful pattern and thorough execution but primarily for their extremely delicate approach to face modelling, the absence of sharp shades "fashionable" at that time, often distorting the features of faces,—though later it would become common for Stroganov's needlework chambers too.

It was in the period when the Stroganov’s workshops were headed by Anna Ivanovna that the pall "Metropolitan Jonah", which is notable for its high artistic and technological merits, was performed.

ПThe sudarium "Crucifixion with Selected Saints" is an example of Stroganov's embroidery workshops of 1670-1680s. It is distinguished by a special manner of embroidering faces with a thin, greyish twisted silk, very dense, "satin" stitch "in shape" with shades; round eyes; gold embroidery both in clothes and filling the entire space of the work (background, frames); contours and details of images specially outlined. However, here one can already notice a more rough execution of embroidery, compared to previous decades.

 

Altar cross  Podea  Veil (air) on church vessel  Gonfalon  Pall on the coffin of Metropolitan Alexius