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This magnificent work was painted by the outstanding Fedoskino artist Pavel Anokhin. It is painted in the style which is unusual for Fedoskino School of miniature painting. To a great extent it is close to the style of surrealism. In painting and sculpture surrealism is one of the leading influences of the 20th century. In this century it also admired, and included in its exhibitions, works by the Italian Giorgio de Chirico, the Russian Marc Chagall, the Swiss Paul Klee, the French artists Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, and the Spaniard Pablo Picasso. Surrealist painting exhibits great variety of content and technique. That of Salvador Dali, for example, consists of more or less a direct and photographic transcription of dreams.
The box shows a fisherman carrying the net full of fish. But it isn't ordinary fish. Each one has wings and can fly like birds. If you look at the composition attentively you'll see that not birds but fish is flying away through the hole in the net. In the background the artist paints a bird, a big fish with wings swimming in the sea, a woman and a man holding a bird-fish in his hands, and beautiful lilac clouds. Almost all area of the composition is studded with silver raindrops.
The composition is painted mostly in blue tones. Mother-of-pear is inlaid in the area where the net and the flying fish is depicted. The big fish swimming in the sea and the fish which is in the man's hands are depicted in aluminum paints. Aluminum is also used to paint raindrops. The fishman's hare is painted in gold paints.
The box is constructed out of paper-mache made in the village of Fedoskino. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. The only decoration is a solid gold line that frames the composition. The box has a hinge to its top and rests on a flat bottom. It is signed and titled ("Birds, fish and fishermen") by the artist.