Russian Folk Art

Russian Folk Art

Alison Hilton
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/02/2011
Format: Paperback 20 color illus., 130 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22335-7
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Russian Folk Art surveys the traditions, styles, and functions of the many objects made by Russian peasant artists and artisans. Placing the objects within the settings in which folk artists worked—the peasant household, the village, and the local market—Alison Hilton discusses the principal media artists employed and the items they produced, from dippers and goblets to clothing and window frames. Emphasizing the balance between time-honored forms and techniques and the creativity of individual artists, the book explores how images and designs helped to form a Russian esthetic identity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Abundantly illustrated with examples from Russian museums, Russian Folk Art is a treasure for anyone interested in Russian culture.

Author Bio

Alison Hilton is Wright Family Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. Program in Art and Museum Studies at Georgetown University. She is author of Kazimir Malevich, 1878–1935 and author (with Norton T. Dodge) of New Art from the Soviet Union: The Known and the Unknown.


“A survey of the traditions, styles, and functions of a broad range of objects made by Russian peasant artists and artisans, this book explores how images and designs helped to form a Russian esthetic identity in the 19th and 20th centuries. ”

“All in all, this volume represents a fine source on the evolution and range of russian folk art and is the only comprehensive such study available in English.”
 — Journal of American Folklore

“. . . intelligent, well-written, beautifully edited and handsomely produced . . . wealth of detail and interpretive perspectives . . . ”
 — Canadian Folklore

“. . . a significant contribution to Russian art history in any language. Her book proves invaluable for serious specialists, useful as a textbook for students, and informative for all interested in the subject. ”
 — The Russian Review

“Hilton surveys the field of Russian folk art thoughtfully and thoroughly, in prose of exemplary clarity. . . . Russian Folk Art exemplifies how academic inquiry and research are properly done.”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration

Part I
The Arts in Peasant Life
1. Tradition and Discovery
2. Villiage and Izba
3. Domestic Tasks and Tools
4. Specialization and Originality: Some Peasant Artists

Part II
Materials and Forms
5. Wood and Carved Ornament
6. Painting on Wood
7. Textile Arts and Costume
8. Beyond the Villiage: Specialized Crafts and Urban Folk Art
9. Toys in All Media

Part III
Designs and Their Meaning
10. AMulet, Ornament, and Ritual
11. Transformation of the Slavic Legacy
12. Heraldic Beasts and Guardian Figures: The Evolution of Motifs
13. Scenes from Life and Forms from the Past

Part IV
Preservation and Revival of Russian Folk Art
14. Serf Artist, Peasant Painters, and the Rise of Genre
15. National Art and Folk Art
16. Artistic Renewal
17. Folk Art and New Languages of Art
18. Reshaping Folk Art in the Soviet Era

Selected Bibliography

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