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The peasant woman. Harmonist. Hunter

Grinevo, Kargopolsky District, Arkhangelsk Region. 1940


In the 1930s-1940s a talented master and a hereditary potter Ivan Druzhinin (1887-1949) worked in the north, the Grinevo village of Kargopolsky district, Arkhangelsk region. His name is associated with the heyday of this center. The Russian Museum possesses the largest collection of his toys, which shows the distinctive features of the artist's manner. Different sources can be seen in the Druzhinin’s works. They are interconnected and give a special tone to his work. The strongest of them and the most seminal one is the real world of the Russian village. That’s why in his small, craggy sculpted figures, there are numerous peasant women with birds, baskets or children in their arms; fashionable ladies in elegant dresses and fancy hats; men with pipes in their mouths, accordionists, soldiers with knapsacks, travelers with bundles, hunters with rifles and prey. There are various compositions among the Druzhinin’s female images – women breastfeeding babies or holding bowls with bread. Orange circles, ovals, crosses with rays, trunks, plant branches and stripes that symbolize a plowed field are repeated on their skirts.

This is another source of Druzhinin's images - the reminder of peasant's eternal connection with the land and his dependence on the sun and the nature’s gifts. It is expressed with the help of female characters as the onetime embodiment of fertility or by means of ornamental symbols, which have also lost their former meaning a long time ago.


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