Description The miniature on this box replicates a recurrent image in Russian enamels, Viktor Vasnetsov's popular painting, A Vitiaz (Knight) at the Crossroads or Warrior at the Crossroads (1882). In the twilight, a bogatyr mounted on a white horse gazes across a battlefield pondering which direction to take. He has been identified as the 12th-century Kievan Rus warrior, Il'ia Muromets, who is mentioned in the byliny, the Russian folk stories. A highlight of the Fabergé box is the exceptionally fine filigree enamel. On the front face appears a stylized griffin with a darting red tongue flanked by swans. Birds with long tails are depicted on the ends of the box. A distinctive feature is the manner in which the filigree and painted enamel designs invade the painted scene on the left side and along the bottom. These patterns are executed in a silver overlay rather than in wire filigree. Unlike the Fabergé box in which the miniature is painted in glossy enamel (44.917), the Marshak example has a matte surface. Among the decorative elements on the face of the lid are sunflowers and a pair of owls and below, a line of mountains. An almost identical box with the owls flanking the central scene is in the Jerome and Rita Gans Collection of Russian enamel, inv. 98.12.
- Old Russian Enamels. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. 1987.
Provenance Jean M. Riddell, Washington, D.C.; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 2010.
Inscriptions [Symbols] On base: circular kokoshnik, kokoshnik right (1908-1917), 88; [Mark] In Cyrillic: I. Marshak, v (for Kiev); [Marks] Inside lid in Cyrillic: I Marshak, 88
Credit Bequest of Mrs. Jean M. Riddell, 2010
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