Zlatoust engraving art
Zlatoust engraving art – highly exclusive, timeless products made by the hands of skilled craftsmen, from brass, nickel and gold, in the technique of multi-cycle application, artistic prints, panache brush, etching, nickel plating. Zlatoust was founded in 1754 and named in honor of St. John Zlatoust. The city is surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Ural. In 1815 there was built arms factory, which produced a variety of types of bladed weapons (swords, sabers, swords, daggers, knives). At this time rare art was born in Zlatoust – steel engraving. Great contribution to the development of prints made P.P.Anosov – the great Russian scientist and metallurgist. Under his leadership, for the first time in Russia was obtained damask steel.
Artists and engravers of the new generation revived the tradition of Zlatoust steel engraving and gave new life to a unique crafts. Workshops of decorative – applied art, which set a goal of not only to preserve the unique original art of jewelry metal products, but also to revive the traditions of Russian weapons. In short, its purpose was to return the engraving – decorating thing, whether it is a cup or a dagger, blade of officer’s saber, or a candlestick, tray or church utensils.
Zlatoust engraving art was started by the German craftsmen brothers Shaaf. Arriving in the early 19th century to the Urals, they took up the first disciples in December 1817. The brothers Schaff faithfully handed to young artists all their secrets, including the fire gilding.
In the tradition of Solingen – namely, they followed and artists – the blade is usually decorated with two or three symbolic figures. More often to be found crossed arms, a sprig of laurel, a cornucopia. All this was rarely a single composition. And if they made such attempts, then scattered on the blade spot drawings combined in a narrow gilt frame. The technique was traditional: drawings were engraved with a needle. Sometimes on the etched blade used lofty, embossed gilt.
A method of applying gold mixed with mercury has been known since antiquity. This method, for example, was successfully used in the manufacture of earrings by Scythian jewelers. The separate smallest details of ornaments were not fused, as if they were glued with “gold amalgam”, mercury was then evaporated, and the tiny golden poppy seeds, forming a pattern, “stick” to each other. Thus, the “secret” of Schaffs is more than one thousand years.
Of course, this method of applying gold on steel was known among Tula gunsmiths that in the XVIII century applied to personal arms gold lettering. Incidentally, at the Zlatoust factory since its inception worked a lot of Tula masters, and it is possible that the fire gilding was here before the arrival of the Schaffs.
Ivan Bushuyev, one of the first students of Schaffs, began to change the technique of engraving. Instead of a needle he picks up a brush and does cinnabar pattern. After the pattern of etching becomes a relief, since the rest of area of the blade has been etched. Such technique of execution is difficult to call the engraving. Bushuyev brought into it something that has no definition.
Artworks by Zlatoust artist-engravers at the end of the XX century decorated halls of the leading museums of Russia, including Moscow Kremlin Armory (set of weapons), the Central Military History Museum of Artillery, the Central Naval Museum, the Memorial Museum of the Great Patriotic war of 1941-1945, Poklonnaya Hill. The best works of the Zlatoust masters were marked by high awards in London (1851, bronze medal, 1862 silver medal), Paris (1867, 1878, 1900, gold medal), Vienna (1873, silver medal), Moscow (1882, gold medal), Copenhagen (1888, honorable mention), Chicago (1893, bronze medal), Nizhny Novgorod (1896, gold medal), Stockholm (1897, gold medal), Omsk (1911, gold medal).
Products by masters of Zlatoust steel engraving are in the collections of the largest museums of Russia and the world: the Kremlin Armory, State Hermitage Museum, the Central State Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps, the Museum of Weapons (Germany, Solingen), London Memorial Museum of Duke of Wellington, the Imperial War Museum (London, UK).