Mstera Art Museum

Vladimir Region, Vyazniki District, the Village of Mstera, Lenin square, 3 +7 (49233) 5-03-62
About the organization
Mstera Art Museum

Mstera is a craft center not only of regional, but also of Russian significance. For  a hundred years, the Mstera Art Museum has been collecting the best works of folk artists. The unique collection of the museum reflects all facets of traditional crafts and trades.

The Mstera Art Museum was founded in October 1919. One of the initiators of its creation was a native of Mstera, academician of painting F.A. Modorov. The initial stage in the formation of this museum was the foundation of the Museum of Church Values, located in the Epiphany Monastery.​ Its exposition mainly included icons, shrouds, items of church ritual. Over its centuries-old history, the art museum has undergone a lot of reorganizations, but retained a collection consisting of almost 3,000 works of masters of the 17th-21th centuries.

The main exposition of the museum is called "The Art of Mstera".  It presents the history of the development of craftsmanship and art from the 17th century to the present day, from various schools and styles of icon painting to modern Mstera lacquer miniature.

Having arisen in the Epiphany monastery in the 17th century, the icon-painting craft of Mstera gradually spread to the entire settlement and passed from generation to generation. For several centuries, the master's artistic style of icon-painting had been creating. It is characterized by flatness, carpet style and ornamentation. The church wooden sculpture of Mstera of the 18th century and especially sculptural image of Christ made in different styles of woodcarving is of great interest.

The museum’s collection of the lacquer miniature includes more than 350 items. It contains works of the founders of lacquer painting, former icon painters, N. Klykov, A. Bryagin, A. Kotyagin, I. Fomichyov, E. Yurin, as well as contemporary artists of Mstera school. The subjects of lacquer miniatures are very diverse – fairy-tale and epic, folklore, historical and heroic. Besides, masters paint landscapes and even scenes of everyday life. 

The museum presents a rich collection of different types of embroidery (white satin-stitch, Russian satin-stitch, Vladimir seam). This unique folk craft made Mstera famous all over the world. It impresses visitors with brilliant artistic technique, skill and imagination of the craftswomen. The embroidery of T.M. Shulpina, Honored Artist of the RSFSR, form the largest part of the exhibition. The craftswoman used fairy-tale, song and epic plots, but she preferred up to date topics. For example, her embroidery "From Torch to Space" depicts the flight of the  first woman into space.

Another facet of Mstera’s art is metal processing. The museum presents an interesting collection of works of art of masters who work at the factory "Mstera Jeweler". They carefully preserve traditions of the past, when icon casings were decorated with embossing, engraving and filigree. Modern caskets, glass-holders, vases, crockery sets and other products made in the technique of filigree impress us with subtlety.

Another part of the exposition presents painting of Mstera artists. Canvases of K.I. Mazin, the graduate of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, artist and teacher are of great value. Works of F.A. Modorov, academician, People's Artist of the RSFSR are also highly appreciated by art lovers.

Visitors are also interested in the activities of I.A. Golyshev (1838 - 1896),   Russian enlightener and public figure, local historian and the founder of the first rural lithography in Russia.

The exposition of the Mstera Art Museum reflects the achievements of famous Mstera craftsmen, Grand Prix winners, gold and silver medalists who participated in the World exhibitions in Paris, New York, Brussels, gold and silver medalists of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the USSR, the Academy of Arts of Russia, etc.

Author: V. Korolkova