Silhouette paper cut art
Silhouette of Russian Grand Duke Paul Petrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna with sons Alexander and Constantine, planting a tree in front of the bust of Catherine II. 1784 – 1785. The State Hermitage Museum, Russia.
Silhouette paper cut art is one of the oldest and it is not surprising that its first traces are found in ancient China, it coincided with the invention of paper in China. On paper were drawn, written Chinese characters, used for government documents, but the Chinese have gone even further. They decided to cut silhouettes out of paper, stack them on the window, the whole effect of this appeared in the evening when the light was lit in the windows. Different cut silhouettes belonged to different national beliefs of the Chinese.
Chinese did not know the word silhouette, as we call it today. The word silhouette appeared in the 18th century in France. At that time there lived the Minister of Finance at the royal court of Louis the 15th, named Etienne de Silhouette. Born in Limoges, Etienne de Silhouette traveled through Europe, lived in London, where he studied the practical economy and financial system of Great Britain. On his return to Paris, he translated a few English scientific papers on the economy, which made him famous.
In March 1759 he was appointed general financial controller of France. Tried to reform the tax system and reduce the exorbitant costs of the royal court. Stringent austerity measures imposed by de Silhouette, intensed criticism of court circles. In November 1759 Silhouette was forced to leave his post.
But that’s not all. He invented a new method of entertainment, that is, he thought of to trace the shadow of his guests, painting them on the walls. Oddly enough, but nobody before him had such an idea. His guests liked the minister’s silhouettes, and the glory of his silhouette art quickly spread throughout every corner of France and Europe. Rejoicing in such glory Etienne de Silhouette even created his own museum and various shadow silhouette profiles. Cutting silhouettes out of paper could afford even the poor people. That was so simple, the word silhouette inherited its rightful name of Etienne de Silhouette
Silhouette art has not lost its status. Silhouette pictures are used in advertising, in heraldry, icons in the company logo. Here is used the Silhouette paper cut ‘Dream Papercut’ by silhouettists Dmitry and Julia.
“We are creating paper silhouettes, each from a separate sheet of paper, where each item is connected with others. Each work tells a story. We are inspired by nature, life and the people who love what we do.
Cutting out the paper – an amazing process when you start with a sheet of paper, and end with a beautiful work of art. Each work takes from several hours to several days. For us, these silhouettes are not just paper, we put our love, care and happiness into it. We really believe that people looking at our work, may feel the same as us.”