Easter egg jewellery art
One of the first jewelers to combine an Easter egg with jewellery was Carl Faberge. His name is now associated with the brilliant art of decorative Easter eggs, the so-called “Easter surprise” – giftware with a hidden secret. It is assumed that the idea of creating them belonged to his younger brother Agafon Faberge, extraordinarily gifted artist who also had exceptional design capabilities. Carl Faberge was able to win the hearts of customers, pushing all competitors. His success is in the complexity of the design, originality and impeccable execution of these precious toys. Total from 1885 to 1917 were produced 56 “Easter surprises” on the orders of the imperial family. These were the gifts of Alexander III and Nicholas II to Empresses Maria Feodorovna and Alexandra Feodorovna.
The Imperial dynasty and its numerous royal and princely relatives in England, Denmark, Greece, Bulgaria, Hesse, Hannover received Russian Imperial Easter Eggs as a gift. These precious favors were appreciated and passed them on to future generations. After the First World War, the fall of the monarchy in Europe and the depletion of the aristocracy, many Faberge were sold and moved on to other owners. In the 1920s, to replenish the treasury currency, the Soviet government sold a number of works of art from public collections. From the imperial collection confiscated after 1917, were sold to a large part, probably, “absolutely useless” for the Soviet state unique Easter eggs.
The earliest of these was the egg depicting cupids, probably after a drawing by Francois Boucher, which refers to the middle of the XVIII century and is located in the State Russian Museum. Each Easter egg was handmade for members of the imperial family.
Under Alexander III and Nicholas II at the factory to each Easter were issued 100, and then 200 eggs with “monogram with the image of their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress.” Special attention was paid to technical excellence of these products for official gifts. Sovereigns themselves sometimes acted as a kind of controllers: so Alexander III recommended to paint eggs with not only color, but also with ornaments, loved whole glass products with engraved pattern.
Easter eggs were made of papier-mache at the end of the XIX century, at Moscow factory of Lukutin, now famous Fedoskino factory of lacquer miniature painting. Along with religious subjects Wizards of factory of Lukutin often depicted on Easter eggs Orthodox churches and temples. One of the favorite subjects of masters was St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square. At the end of XIX – early XX century, along with the icons in the Moscow icon-painting workshops, educated immigrants from the traditional centers of Russian icon painting – Palekh, Mstera, Kholui, painted Easter eggs as well.