Gorodets painting has been practiced since the XIX century, according to some sources - from the beginning of the century, and to others – from the middle. The handicraft emerged near the town of Gorodets as decoration for spinning wheels– both the comb and the base (the bench on which a spinner sits). Initially the work was carried out using an incrustation technique. Figures of animals or birds were inserted in specially carved slots. The figures were made from dark wood, making the product’s surface textured. They were later tinctured in blue, yellow, green and red colors. The incrustation technology was finally considered too time-consuming to meet the increasing demand for the product, and it was decided to just use beautiful painting.
Gorodets painting is characterized by free and smooth strokes - from the broadest lines to the finest, most precise strokes, black outlines, rich colors and color transitions. The painting is made on a wooden base, sometimes covered with red, blue, black or bright green ground paint.
Thematically, it is most often floral ornaments (e.g. bunches of flowers in the center of the composition – containing three flowers in the form of a triangle, or four (diamond-shaped) - of hibiscus, famous Gorodets roses and globe-flowers, wreaths, garlands and floral bands). The scenes include
merchants’ life stories and images of animals (lions, leopards, the famous horses and roosters, frozen in warlike postures). If the story is about a tea party or a holiday in a house, then the painting will surely include colonnades, curtains and all sorts of draperies, while the painting itself can be divided into several parts.
Oftentimes, secondary characters are drawn at the feet of the protagonist, who is larger and more brightly colored. Trays and jewel boxes are usually decorated with floral motifs. The trays combine floral ornamentation with images of horses and roosters as the central motifs. Dishes, boxes and panels are decorated with scenes of everyday life.
Gorodets is located in the Mid-Volga Region, 53 km from Nizhny Novgorod. The city is justifiably popular among tourists. You can purchase the products of Gorodets’ craftsmen not only during traditional festivals dedicated to artisanry, but also on any other day of the year.
Leaving Russia, take home a piece of our homeland, our forests, decorated with the caring hands of unmatched craftsmen!