Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of vases

Artist:
Nikolai Stepanovich Vereshchagin (ca. 1795–1813)
Date:
ca. 1795–1800
Culture:
Russian, Archangelsk
Medium:
Walrus and elephant ivory
Dimensions:
8 5/8 × 3 × 3 in. (21.9 × 7.6 × 7.6 cm)
Classification:
Natural Substances-Ivory
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 1998
Accession Number:
1998.13.1, .2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 553
The art of bone-carving in Russia is inseparably linked with the remote northern whaling city of Arkhangel'sk. Lack of academic training and his humble position in a customs office were not impediments to the most widely recognized Arkhangel'sk bone carver, Nikolai Stepanovich Vereshchagin, whose vases were commissioned as ambassadorial gifts of state and for the personal collection of Czar Alexander I. The oval body of each of these examples in the Neoclassical style is decorated with an ajouré (pierced) decoration, four circular medallions in relief, and a finial surmounted by the figure of Atlas. The design of the energetically curving floral stalks resembles ornament found in seventeenth-century Russian book illustrations, and the Four Elements–one in each medallion–were inspired either by the "Frankish" prints circulating in Russia since the seventeenth century or by images from the "Book of Symbols and Emblems" commissioned by Peter the Great in 1703 in Amsterdam. This elegant pair of vases is a particularly fine example of the work of Vereshchagin. "The noble and calm simplicity" of their form and the exquisite carving blend well with some stiffness in the rendering of the human bodies, which only adds to this artwork an air of soft, intimate charm.
[ Jeremy LTD, London , until 1998; sold to MMA ]
Related Objects

Pair of vases

Date: ca. 1780 Medium: Orbicular diorite, gilt bronze Accession: 1999.122.1, .2 On view in:Gallery 524

Peter the Great

Date: late 18th–early 19th century Medium: Walrus ivory Accession: 1972.145.37 On view in:Gallery 553

Catherine II (Catherine the Great)

Date: late 18th–early 19th century Medium: Walrus ivory Accession: 1972.145.36 On view in:Gallery 553

Imperial Napoleonic Egg

Date: 1912 Medium: Gold, guilloché enamel, rose-cut diamond, platinum, gold, ivory, gouache, velvet, silk Accession: L.2011.66.57a–c On view in:Gallery 555

Imperial Caucasus Egg

Date: 1893 Medium: Yellow and quatre-couleur gold, silver, platinum, guilloché enamel, rose- and table-cut diamond, pearl, crystal, ivory, watercolor Accession: L.2011.66.51a, b On view in:Gallery 555