SHOWCASE 15. JEWELLERY OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY

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Showcase 15. Jewellery of the first half of the 18th century

Items represented in this showcase relate to the turn of the 17th century, i.e. the period of political, cultural and economic reforms of the Russian state. On the pretext of military and production expenditures which resulted from aggressive foreign policy and building of new capital in Saint Petersburg, Peter I issued a decree reducing the number of domestic utensils made of precious metals. Nevertheless, he continued developing the art of jewellery making as well as a long-term programme of cultural exchange between Russia and countries of Western Europe. Russian makers, having assimilated the experience of foreign artists, perfected their own manner and style, as well as special techniques of art of metal and stone work. 

In the 18th century, Russian artworks decorated with open-work embossment and enamel portrait miniatures became most widespread. Works by the world-renowned portrait painters A.Ovsov and G.Musikiysky, makers of the Armoury Chamber, can be found in museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Russian silversmiths have perfected filigree and embossed ornamentation, superimposed on a smooth background. This technique was developed by Russian makes and used for decorating gold, silver, glass and enamel surfaces. In the 18th century, one can find articles made entirely of open-work filigree ornament, combined with precious stones, coloured glass or metal.

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