The most popular story, seemingly known to everyone since the childhood, passed into daily speech – “Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish” by Aleksander Pushkin – is a canonical story, which remains current in every era. Pushkin's story inspired the famous Kholuy artist Boris Kiselyov (1928–2007), with its simplicity and deep essence, to create this wonderful item.
The tale of an old man, who once caught a magical gold fish in the sea and
then let it go home, turning down the chance for fulfilment of a wish –
this is a whole spectre of psychological portraits of eminent representatives
of the Russian society. The old man, who could not support himself and who,
due to his generosity and foolish short-sightedness, was unable to benefit from
a miracle. The old woman sent the old man to ask the fish for a new washer,
new home along with subsequently wished title, riches, power over the people
and then control over the gold fish. In the end, they were left with nothing,
but were in possession of a “broken washer.”
“Left with nothing” – this phrase made its permanent way
into the Russian culture out of the moral of this tale.
The author tried to tell this tale in detail.
Creating his artwork, he, just like many of the masters
of the Central Russia settlement of Kholuy, did not limit
himself to painting only the lid, but continued his
artistic story telling further – on the side panels of
the casket. Thanks to the accuracy and realistic approach
of the painting, all the aspects of Pushkin's tale were
Aleksander Pushkin (1799-1837). Self-portrait. 1820s.
Source: Literary scenes of Russia: Publisher “Soviet Russia”, 1987.
“The Kholui Kholuy artworks were made by hand all the way. The artists use
egg tempera, following the footsteps of the ancient master of Russ, who handed down the recipe for this paint from generation to generation. Even in
modern times, the artists personally create the paint using vinegar, water, egg
yolk and pigment, selecting particular colours for it. Golden paint is made by leaf-gold mixed with other components.”