Zhostovo Painting
Zhostovo painting is one of the traditional types of Russian decorative work developed in the village of Zhostovo, Mytishi region, Moscow oblast. It appeared at the beginning of the 19th century under the influence of Ural flower painting on metal.

Zhostovo painting is essentially drawing on metal trays preliminarily covered by several layers of thick putty and oil varnish (normally, of black color). The painting itself is accomplished in several consequent stages; soft brush and oil-colors (richly mixed with linseed-oil) create an impression of an energetic and elastic touch. Stylistic development of Zhostovo painting is closely related to Russian porcelain and enamel painting of Moscow region's plants and factories, as well as with the flower motifs of printed Ivanovo cottons and P.V. Lukutin miniature.

The main motif of Zhostovo painting - a flower bouquet - is simple and laconic in its composition: larger garden flowers are combined with smaller wild flowers; the actual shape of a flower is conveyed through a three-dimensional painting technique; and all this is being brought together by a decorative richness of multi-color solution closely related to the traditional Russian brush-painting on chests and distaffs. Tray edges are finished with a golden ornamental pattern (also known as uborka). The completed painting is covered by three layers of light varnish, being further polished to mirror luster.

Tea is a drink traditionally favoured in Russia. The practice is to drink tea in colorfully painted cups. With jam, bagels, rusks or pies. They usually put the samovar or kettle on a tray and if the water is spilled it goes on the tray and not on the tablecloth. Look at the tray. It is black, with a bunch of bright, red flowers in middle and there is an almost invisible tiny gold ornament along the rim. This is the famous Zhostovo tray.

The history of the trade is over 150 years old that is since 1825. When the Vishnyakov brothers opened their business painting metal trays in the village of Zhostovo, not far from Moscow.

The production of trays is based on lasting traditions. The trays are usually black, though they can be green, dark blue and others. They have various forms, up to thirty. Zhostovo craftsmen created their own original art style - Russian folk paintings on daily tray is put up in final form with a special technology. The trays had been lacquering black a few times and only after that an artists started working on it. The artists use a number of traditional techniques that have been proved over the years.

Usually the artist does only a slight marking of the future painting. Neither a preliminary drawing is used, not a suggested one. The artist improvises every time, composing right on the tray. Therefore every single tray - they will have their distinctions.

Though the most traditional painting is flowers on the tray, sometimes they depict fruits and cherries, rarely animals or insects. The flower paintings are realistic and most common, but the artists never copy the natural forms, though they know their structures and colour well. Usually the painted flowers are more luxuriant and calorific than the ones we can see in the field or in the garden. The artists combine reality and imagination. They create a bright and pageantry picture of individual with its own favorite themes, compositions and a kind of flower. After the tray is painted, it is covering by color-free lacquer and brilliant polishing. Now the product is done!

A brush of talented Zhostovo artists turns an every day thing into an alight, festal piece of work that can be adored timelessly. Also the trays can adorn any room as a painting on a wall or on a shelf. Zhostovo art is very democratic - it doesn't take unique knowledge or training to appreciate the painting.

The Zhostovo tray is a perfect gift for any event. It makes tea-drinking a celebration if tea is served using one of such trays.