Friday, May 13, 2016

Russian Matryoshka Art Lesson

Although I've never had a set of these dolls I've always loved them.  We'll make ours out of paper instead of wood.  This is a nice lesson to introduce students to Russian Folk Art.

This is the first Set of Matryoshka Dolls, made in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo. Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood. Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme; the themes may vary, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders. The matryoshka dolls are often referred to as "babushka dolls", "babushka" meaning "grandmother" or "elderly woman".

The Matryoshka Doll was presented at the Exposition Universelle in Paris tens years later, 1900.  They were so popular that they began making them in several places in Russia and shipping them all around the world.

Using a Template which can be printed from this Jpeg, cut out the four shapes.

I kept it very simple so that the students can decorate them however they want.
 Begin by putting a dot in the center of the bottom of the face.  Then draw the scarf from the dot to the outside of the Matryoshka with a curved line.
Draw a circle in the center of the scarf and then the two ends of the scarf - leaf shape.  
Put a dot in the center of the top of the head and draw the hair from the center to about halfway down.
Add facial features however you like, but the rosy cheeks are pretty standard.  
Add a short line from the center of the scarf on each side to begin the apron.
Connect the two lines at the bottom of the dress and add any decoration you wish.
I used colored pencils to finish them.

Punch holes at the base of each doll and add a brass brad to keep them together.
This is the traditional Matryoshka, but I also did a non traditional version.  I used the same patterns, but turned them over so the circle for the face doesn't show.

The sky is the limit with these, where ever their imagination takes them!

Student Work:

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