I was always worried about the development of the Russian interior: its features, development, traditions. And how great it is that the exhibition “Russian Interior: from Baroque to Minimalism” took place in Tsaritsyno, which helped to structure thoughts. The good thing about the exposition is that in separate rooms, like in a textbook, objects of different styles are presented in chronological order. Inspired by the exhibition, I have made for you a selection of items from the collections of our factories that correspond to the styles of different eras.
Old Russian style
It turns out that the interior of the hut was formed depending on the length of the tree. Wealthy people could afford both two and three log cabins. Benches and benches stood along the walls. There was also a table, a shrine, and many chests of different sizes. Sometimes utensils were made and placed on benches. This interior has been preserved for centuries.
The eighteenth-century during the reign of Peter I – a turn to European style, interiors of England and Holland. Not only “administrative workers” are sent to Europe for training, but also furniture makers. The era of Russian baroque begins. Furniture becomes mobile. Imagine, only at this time a chair with a back appears in Russia. If earlier only representatives of the authorities (including the clergy) could sit on the throne, now the chair is becoming a common household item that can be moved to the work table. In general, at this time a completely different character of the Russian interior was born. Check out these consoles with animal feet. Smooth baroque curls, many decorative elements, fragments processed using the gilding technique on wood, elements resembling shells – all these are signs of that time.
During the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna, the baroque was gradually replacing the new rococo style that arose in 1720. in France and two decades later appeared in the palaces of St. Petersburg. This style did not last long on the pedestal: only two decades. In the West, Rococo was often so decorative, so luxuriant, that it was not always possible to read the structure, the very essence of the subject. In Russia, the style manifested itself in a more restrained manner, largely due to the preserved traditions of the time of Peter the Great. At this time, in Tula, at the arms factories, they began to produce metal furniture. For example, the armchair displayed at the exhibition shows the influence of the Chippendale style. The feeling that the baroque “animal legs” have grown slimmer and have risen on tiptoe. This furniture is like dancing on pointe. Ornaments on themes from the world of flora are used as decoration.
As if tired of the excessive decorativeness of Rococo and Baroque, the aristocratic public of that time turned to classicism. The dawn of this style falls on the years of the reign of Catherine the Great. The ideas of rationalism extend not only to philosophical thought. The interior becomes restrained, realistic, structural, and symmetrical. The excavations of Pompeii and the new discovery of the cultural heritage of ancient times played a huge role in the emergence of fashion for the classics. Oak and laurel garlands, meanders (the ornament is often found on Greek souvenirs), acanthuses (similar to wormwood) appear in the decor. Furniture loses the smoothness of transitions from one element to another, characteristic of Rococo. Moreover, the joints between individual elements are emphasized ornamental. The bend in the shape of the legs disappears, it is replaced by column legs (round or square), tapering towards the bottom. The back of chairs and armchairs takes the form of a medallion or rectangular frame. All pieces of furniture support the idea of symmetry.
Empire style is a continuation of classicism, directed to other periods of the past: too late Rome. All the pathos of this style was aimed at glorifying the imperial power. Empire style spreads in the Russian interior, capturing not only palaces but also noble estates, where the main items of the living room of that time were a sofa, a side table, and armchairs. Secretaries and tables for card games could be in the office. Since in the era of Emperor Alexander I “sanctions” were imposed on everything French, Russian architects, and furniture makers had to master the fashion trend on their own. The imperial style manifested itself in Russia with the appearance of eagles, laurel wreaths, and lions – in general, any symbols of power, not only as furniture decor but also in its upholstery and general textile interior decoration. Expensive palace furniture was made of mahogany, rosewood, and Karelian birch. Malachite came into fashion. And by the way, perceived greatness was much more important than comfort.