White swans against light blue water background: historical vase recreated in Gorky Park

October 13, 2019
Parks and pedestrian areas

In Gorky Park, another historic 2 m vase with white swans against the light blue water has been recreated. It is part of a big decorative composition including 12 vases painted in the antique style.

Exactly the same composition used to decorate Pushkinskaya Embankment in the 1930s. It was designed by the architect Alexander Vlasov, who had developed the general layout of the Park. Apparently, the original vases were lost during the Great Patriotic War. To date, 11 of the 12 street decorative vases have been restored according to archival documents and photographs. The last, 12th vase, will complement the composition next year. Now, you may find the unique park decorations near the Green Theater, on the alley starting at Andreyevsky Bridge.

'Fortunately, archival black-and-white photographs have survived, showing all these huge street vases surrounded by plants. Besides, artists engaged in the Park at the time made paper copies of the vases’ paintings. These historical documents from our archives help specialists restore the lost composition. Remarkably, the vase with swans, according to the architect's design, is the only one to have a different decoration. It is made in cold blue and white colour scheme. By the way, this palette was one of the principal ones in the Stalinist Architecture. The paintings on the other vases have a warm ochre-and-terracotta hue,' the Press Service of Gorky Park told.

Subjects of vase drawings can be divided into three categories: sports, nature, culture and art. The author of the original paintings is unknown. The reconstructed vessels have exactly the same paintings as the historical ones.

As the Press Service of the Park explained, Pushkinskaya Embankment regularly hosts many public events, so it was decided to move the vases to some quiet place where visitors could admire them. By the way, the vases stand in the same sequence in which they were arranged in the 1930s.

This reconstruction is a long and painstaking work, which began in 2013. Scientific research and the study of documents alone took several years. Landscape architects and ceramic artists fully comply with the vase-making technology of the 1930s. The vases are made of chamotte, plastic mass based on various clays with chamotte crumbs (crushed coal clay), hand-painted with clay-based engobe paints applied to the surface before the final baking. This technology preserves vibrant and bright colours, producing a shimmering effect.

It took at least two months to make one street vase. The to-do list included creating sketches and having them approved, making a form and stencil with the image, glazing, painting and baking. Each of the last two stages took about 4-5 days. Now the specialists are to restore the final part of the legendary composition.

Gorky Central Culture and Recreation Park was founded in 1928. Stretching from the central entrance to Neskuchny Gardenm the Park was designed by the avant-garde artist Konstantin Melnikov. In 1932, architects Alexei Shchusev and Alexander Vlasov began working on its design.

Many pavilions and buildings of the Park built in different years have survived. In the 1920s, there was a Hexagon Pavilion built here. In the 1930s, the Green Theatre opened. In the 1950s, the main entrance arch and the Public Observatory were constructed, and in the 1970s, the Park had its first light-and-music fountain.

In 2013, part of the grounds of the Vorobyovy Gory Natural Reserve and Lomonosov Moscow State University were transferred to the Park. In 2015, it included Muzeon Arts Park, the largest open-air sculpture museum in Russia.

Today, Gorky Park is one of the chief symbols of Moscow. According to statistics, about 40,000 people visit it on weekdays. On weekends and holidays this figure reaches 250,000. Annually, the Park sees some 30 million visitors.

Source: mos.ru

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