Three Tea Sets by Yevgueny Smirnov
Into the Space” (1961);“Windows of Moscow” (1972);
“Sea” (1972)
Made at the Dmitovsky Porcelain Factory
Patriotism and lyrics of the Soviet era brought to life in ordinary domestic
tea sets.
These tea sets are part of the thematic porcelain created in the second half of the
20th century. Back then, the artists were still in the search of scenes, which
would depict daily life.
Tea set “Into the Space”
One of the certain topics in 1961 was Gagarin's space flight,
which marked the start of the space age – tea set “Into the
Space”. The red Soviet rocket flies across the dark space,
leaving a golden trail behind it. We can see beautiful cups
and saucers in a constructivist form: golden spheres
of planets, arcs left by flying about spacecraft, free-flowing
“aerodynamic” form of items.
Three years later, in 1964, a similar symbol of a flying rocket
was used in the monument “To the Conquerors of Space”
in the Alley of Cosmonauts near Moscow's exhibition centre VDNKh.
The author of the idea, who won the competition, is a different artist,
A. P. Faidysh-Krandievsky.
Monument “To the Conquerors of Space” in Alley of Cosmonauts near VDNKh
Tea set “Windows of Moscow”
The artist used the same technique of combining
black and white in the “Windows of Moscow
tea set. This “evening” tea set with the images of new
buildings was made as if for hearty tea drinking
by Soviet proletariat at the end of the work day.
The large-scale Moscow construction sites were selected as the
theme for this tea set. What we see here is how
the buildings are erected, how the cranes work and how the
typical Soviet high rise apartment building reach the sky
from the broad avenues at their feet. The author did not
give-up on his established habit and used broad golden
stripes in his work. Such original
contours gave the items the richness and
exquisiteness that one expects from such tea sets.
Tea set “Sea”
“Sea” is a jolly and lyrical tea set.
Its bright components are decorated with
typical sailor centric images.
Still, the same golden, broad “Smirnov” style
stripe and red star create the look
of the Soviet Naval flag and also the look of
the sea with a blue breeze, snow white
collars and black sailor caps.
The name of Yevgeny Smirnov is one of the most revered in the history of
Dmitrovsky Porcelain Factory. The “Verbilki Porcelain” (named after the
settlement, where it is located) was the first Russian private porcelain factory.
Founded in the 18th century by an Englishman, Gardner, it soon became a
mark of quality for other Russian factories. After the 1917 revolution, the
factory was nationalized and renamed as “Dmitrovsky Porcelain Factory.” The
Verbilki artists regained their prior fame, when they started using the new
Soviet shapes. During this time, new generation of artists grew into masters, to
whom Smirnov belonged. In 1939 he headed the artistic collective at the
factory, participated in all-union and foreign exhibitions and for his
outstanding works he received the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.