Art Kaleidoscope

Between art and craft

Kaliningrad Amber painting

Kaliningrad Amber painting Kiss, inspired by Gustav Klimt

Kiss, inspired by Gustav Klimt. Kaliningrad Amber painting

Kaliningrad Amber painting
These paintings are made by hand from amber. Every stone of amber is a frozen ray of sunshine kept for 40 million years. So, the picture from the amber is not only a unique work of art, but also a part of the sun’s heat, zipped through millions of years. Landscapes, portraits, icons, images of fauna and flora made of amber radiate a positive energy and have a positive effect on a person. Love for amber painting is due to the very nature of the origin of the material. The magic of the stone in the hands of artists becomes a work of art. It is the secret that fascinates, and turns painting into something more.

Kaliningrad Amber painting

Red fox. Kaliningrad Amber painting

Gamma of amber colors is so great, that includes, perhaps, the entire spectrum of sunlight. That is why, according to experts, there are no two identical amber stones. Amber pictures include elements of small size made of a fine amber crumbs. Pictures of amber crumbs allow very accurately convey the image of people, animals, birds, nature and landscapes. But the greatest value is the applique made image of amber, where each element of the work of art – a separate amber stone.

However, amber is not a stone, but an amorphous, fossilized tree sap. The fossil resin Cretaceous-Eocene – a waste product of trees Pinus succinieferra. Amber contains up to 8% succinic acid, and has a plurality of impurities. The degree of transparency depends on the availability of tiny voids.

The name of the stone “amber” comes from the Late Latin ambar, which in turn comes from the Arabic anbar. The name “fake amber” (bastard amber) refers to the opaque material. According to astrologers, amber is the stone of born under the sign of Leo.

Today, amber is the material for making jewellery – amber necklaces, beads of amber, amber earrings, rings and bracelets, mouthpieces of pipes, amber souvenirs and some art products. Due to its properties, such as softness and strength, amber is easily processed without splitting, and can be easily polished. Production of Baltic amber is concentrated mainly in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Baltic amber, one of the oldest gemstones, adorned the crown of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Information about it is found in Homer’s “The Odyssey.” The Roman historian Tacitus reports that amber was brought “from the Germans”. The Phoenician merchants traded it, calling it drops of resin. A number of tribes used amber as money.

During Nero in ancient Rome dominated amber fashion. From amber produced various luxuries: amber necklaces, beads, and other amber jewelry. Roman tyrant sent his merchants to the north for the Baltic amber. People highly appreciated it not only for its beauty but also because of its healing and protective properties. And the emperor himself preferred black amber to all sorts of stones. According to Pliny, a small figure of amber cost more than a good healthy slave. Meanwhile, wealthy Romans always took amber balls with them, rubbed them with their hands, suggesting that amber reinforces them.

In China and Japan especially valued amber of cherry color, reminiscent of dragon’s blood, and members of the imperial family wore it. Color and transparency were the standard of its value. In ancient Rome, used the white and waxy amber, and highly prized clear reddish amber. At the beginning of our era valued mainly its two varieties: cooked in honey and transparent gold.

In Eastern countries highly appreciated transparent yellow with a greenish tinge and a milky white cloud amber. Besides, amber with insect frozen in it had a special commercial value. At the beginning of our era, for amber containing a fly, Phoenician merchants could pay 120 swords and 60 daggers. At the beginning of the XIX century, this amber was particularly fashionable in France and Russia.

A stone of health, happiness and sun, the amulet of love, amber is capable of attracting to the owner of the gem object his yearnings. According to the psychological impact of color on human, orange (amber) – the color of the exciting and expansive, invigorating and amusing, cheerful and warm, but not intimate. Even in the pre-Christian period, our ancestors believed that pieces of amber included spirits and therefore they highly valued them.

In ancient times, in Italy were widespread amber products – pear-shaped, or in the form of a ram’s head, or cowrie shells as talismans to ensure fertility and successful hunt. Especially popular were amber figurines depicting fruits, grains and animals as Christmas gifts. In the Middle Ages in great demand were amber rosaries and other religious items. The Greeks gave Amber as a wish of happiness.

In addition, this stone is the bearer of victory: it gives victory in battle, that is why so many amber pieces found in graves – fighting charms. Amber – a product of nature, therefore it is usually possible to detect air bubbles, insects, plants or particles. These objects are not defects, but rather a unique feature of genuine amber.

For each species of amber apply its own processing techniques. The largest pieces used in the unique works, such as amber bracelets, beads made of amber, amber necklaces and pendants, as well as amber souvenirs. Medium – in pendants, amber brooches, earrings from amber, trinkets, souvenirs and other products. Small ones – in the amber beads, and the smallest – in the pictures.

Especially prized are insect inclusion – gnats, flies, spiders, butterflies and other insects. No less popular but more common are vegetable inclusions – leaves, twigs, grass, pine needles. Some of the stones of amber are clear and transparent, and the others – with hundreds of air bubbles reflecting sunlight like mirror shards. The spectrum of colors ranges from green, lemon, honey, butterscotch color to Cognac and even cherry. There are not two completely identical stones, each amber is unique in its kind.

Amber is not a gem or mineral, but a fossilized resin of prehistoric trees, mainly conifers, which grew nearly fifty million years ago. Now amber is mined in different parts of the world – in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Burma, Russia. However, Baltic amber is the oldest, and produced in the town of Yantarny, near Kaliningrad, Russia. This small Baltic region produces 90% of the world’s amber. By the way, the amber from the Baltic Sea is considered the most high-quality and durable.

However, not all types of amber are transparent. When the resin was chalk, limestone or sand then it becomes more dense, and amber color sometimes becomes like a stone. But unlike stones, amber preserves lightness and plasticity. Since ancient times, people have noticed the amazing healing properties of amber. Almost everyone knows that for ease of thyroid disease is good to wear amber beads, or a necklace made of amber. Also, amber is the symbol of power and brings victory to the one who wears it. Besides, articles of amber are very comfortable, pleasant to the touch, and always filled with warmth.

Kaliningrad Amber painting

In the post were used Artworks by Galina Baltamber (livemaster.ru/baltamber), Kaliningrad, and paintings by masters of Kaliningrad amber factory (yantarlavka.ru).