No rhyme intended. Well, perhaps it was. It’s hard to tell with me.
Anyway, having anticipated the exhibit for weeks, we finally got ourselves down to the incomparable Detroit Institute of Arts to drool over the works of Faberge’s design firm in Russia. No photography in any form was allowed; the guide even supervised everyone’s shutting off of their cellphones. (I had the uncharitable thought that this was to nudge visitors to buy the $65 book in the museum gift shop, but tried to check such cynicism.)
Most people are familiar at least with the trove of Faberge eggs, exquisitely created for the Romanovs. They essentially came about as Easter was by far the most important holiday in Russia; had Faberge set up shop in another European capitol, the world likely would never have seen such a beautiful art form. But the creations of the design house went far beyond the famous eggs.
Some of my favorites involved the literal creation of beautiful flowers, gifted to the Czarina to comfort her through long winters when nothing living could grow. I could not find an image online of the violet I was so taken with (seemed simple enough in design but in truth required months of painstaking craftsmanship), but the dandelion is amazing:
There was of course jewelry… dainty miniatures of Faberge eggs as pendants:
…parasol handles (all the rage for fine young ladies):
…innumerable picture frames, often featuring members of the royal family. Many incorporated an enameling technique known as guilloche’ and a video demonstrating this was shown. Fascinating. It is what creates the shimmery ripple affect seen here:
…animal figurines of surprising delicacy:
…and, of course, the EGGS.
I’m limiting myself just to three. The spectacular Czarevich’s egg, created to honor the young boy who suffered so with hemophilia:
My husband’s favorite at the exhibit, and certainly a showstopper, the Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg:
…and finally, my favorite – the Pelican Egg.
I loved this for several reasons, not the least of which is its unexpectedness. When one thinks “pelicans”, Russia may not be the first location to spring to mind. I’ve also always found them rather goofy creatures, so to see them so honored and rendered sort of tickled me:
This is an egg you simply must see opened up, to view the beautiful miniatures huddled together inside: PELICAN EGG. “Clever” doesn’t even begin to describe.
While I couldn’t bring myself to buy the aforementioned coffee table book, I did treat myself a bit at the museum shop. Clearly, late January weather had me craving colors and flowers:
The bit of Monet cloth is a wipe for reading glasses, or, in my case, an iPad. The painting on the note cards is from Rosalind Wise’s Cycle of Flowers, an originally enormous canvas, which in a spiral fashion, displays flowers in sequence as they appear seasonally.
Must have bling as well.
It was a good day.