Traditional wooden doll appeared in Russia in the 90 th of XIX century, during economical and
cultural development of the country. It was a time of prosperity and rise of national ideology.
The new direction known as “Russian style” appeared under this influence. A great attention was
paid to the development of wooden peasant doll in festive dresses of different regions. The idea
of several dolls inside came from Japan. The original doll was a figure of peasant girl in a
sundress with a rooster in the hands, and several children dolls inside. Russian doll was named as
Matryoshka, before revolution the names Matryona and Matryosha were widely spread. These
names were always associated with the word Mother. Till nowadays Matryoshka doll is a symbol
of maternity in Russia. Traditionally, the first doll was eight pieces in total.
Till today the artists follow the technology of creation of Matryoshka doll, using the original
methods of turning art.
There are few important phases in technology of making the doll. First of all it is necessary to
choose the right type of wood – it might be linden, birch or alder trees. They are cut in early
spring then dried for at least few years. After that the craftsmen carefully grind the future doll,
using chisel and knife. To create a perfect smooth surface they put high-quality ground coat.
Then the most beautiful and difficult phase begins –the painting.
According to the tradition there are three painters – one paints the face, another – the beautiful
patterned shawl, and the third one designs the “belly”, the subject of the doll. Artists use tempera
and acrylic paint, gold leaf, decorations with crystals and best quality lacquer. All the process of
making takes normally at least 1 month.
In Pushkin Art Gallery you can find a very unique collection of original and artistic items from
the best workshops of St Petersburg. It is a real gem for the connoisseurs and collectors of one
and only pieces of art. All Matryoshka dolls are signed by the artists and have a certificated with
all information about it.