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Unique Russian Icon-Painting Style Melds Western and Russian Styles (Video)

Palekh icons, exclusive and exquisitely detailed, became popular in Russia in the 17th century

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It's difficult to come up with something original while still keeping the tradition, but the Palekh style icon artists in Russia aim to do just that.

The Palekh icons, exclusive and exquisitely detailed, became popular in Russia in the 17th century. (Click here for short explanation why Orthodox Christians have icons)

They combine Western innovations with Old Russian tradition, incorporating elements of the European Renaissance art style to add elaborate details and lush backgrounds. Meanwhile, the hands, the faces, the saints themselves remain in the strict ancient Russian tradition.

Typical attributes of Palekh icons are: 

  • saints (depicted in the traditional ancient Russian style

  • miniature architectural backdrops

  • delicately painted in pastel colours

  • richly decorated with white ornaments

  • lush landscapes

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