1853 - 1938

Nurse with Сhildren

Dymkovo Sloboda, Vyatka. The late 19th - the early 20th century

The origin and development of Dymkovo toys is connected with the local holiday of Svistopliaska or Svistunya, which was held annually on the fourth Saturday after Easter on the bank of the Vyatka River. Women of Dymkovskaya Sloboda were preparing many toys and whistles especially to this holiday. Traditional skates, birds, ducks came to live in the whistles. Doll-ladies, water-carriers, nurses with children were displayed at  the windowsills of the houses instead of expensive porcelain statuettes. The influence of porcelain appeared not only the new use of toys, but also in borrowing of certain subjects (water-carriers in particular), sizes and ground of statuettes that now was white. However, the craftswomen quickly got over the imitation period and created an original art that has been successfully developing for almost two centuries.

Of particular importance to Dymkovo art is the art of the outstanding craftswoman Mezrina. Her numerous and diverse works reflect the life of the provincial city with its ladies, gentlemen, nurses, people's enjoyment, as well as the folk life with everyday peasant’s cares and the world of nature, real and inspired by the author's imagination. Toys significant features are the volume solidity and sculptural perfection. Even without painting, whitened copies amaze with their plastic handicraft, accuracy, laconism of means’ expressiveness and the beauty of lines.

Outwardly calm poses are animated by a depiction of the face of a severe frowning lady or nurse, and the human eye drawn on the animals and birds gives them "animation". In the Mezrina's painting, the colour planes are combined with ornamentation and glittering rhombs of glued gold leaves (the finest leaves made of copper and zinc that imitate gold).

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