Zhostovo is a world-famous Russian folk art center popular for its painted trays decorated with bright bunches of flowers on the black background. The skillful and talented masters of Zhostovo have turned these domestic utensils into real masterpieces of art.
The first workshop of tray painted decoration was opened in 1825. Soon tray painting became an independent handicraft.The following types of lacquered wares were made there: boxes, cases, snuff-boxes and other articles of papier-mache. The first trays were also made of papier-mache decorated with troika-driving, genre scenes, landscape and floraflora ornamentation.
Later this material was substituted by metal, while decorative brunch of flowers replaced floral ornament. Thus, the original style of Zhostovo painted decoration had formed about the middle of the nineteenth century.
The style and methods of Zhostovo painted decoration have acquired peculiar traditions of folk art ornamentation and realistic still-life painting.
However, the tendency of painting bunches of flowers became leading. Today, after more than 170 years existence of the handicraft the village of Zhostovo turned into a unique center of Russian folk art. The floral designs of Zhostovo trays display beauty of nature and a cheerful, optimistic sense of life.
The best traditions of this popular folk art are preserved by modern artists of Zhostovo, who manage to unite the traditional methods with improvisation and individual talent of each master.
Nowadays the works of Zhostovo artists are on display at various exhibitions and museums not only in Russia, but in many other countries of the world.