PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
the bulbous body repoussé in high relief with legendary bogatyrs and female portrait busts in the Old Russian style, and with flying eagles encircling the base, the bogatyrs holding aloft mugs of frothing ale, all exquisitely enameled in a multitude of colors, the gilded ground with a matted finish, the shoulder of the bowl repoussé with pear-shaped lobes each enameled with a flowering plant or vegetable, the rim enameled with black bears in snowy landscapes and with luminescent 'windows,' the handles in the form of bear's heads with eyes set with red stones, the ring foot enameled with stylized vegetable forms, the interior gilded; the ladle enameled with colorful flowers on a stippled gilt ground and with a hook on the handle for resting in the punch bowl
In the late nineteenth century, Russian goldsmiths brought the art of creating shaded (or painted) enamels to new heights. Brightly colored Russian enamels covered with fantastic creatures and swirling foliage were seen so frequently in international exhibitions and fairs that the art form came to be viewed as quintessentially Russian. This extremely rare punchbowl and ladle by Feodor Rückert, a regular supplier to Fabergé, is among the greatest examples of Rückert's mastery of the difficult and painstaking art of painting enamels. Around the entire body of the punchbowl are bears in winter landscapes, figures of brave warriors, sages, and lovely maidens of Old Russia meeting in celebration, and all rendered in high relief and a dizzying array of colors that are proof of Rückert's unusual skill. Rückert is unique among Russian jewelers for having experimented with an unusual range of dark colors such as grey and black and the fearsome eagles encircling the base of the punchbowl exhibit an unusual and difficult-to-achieve matte black.
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