Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Russian Folk Tales as Seen by Tatiana Mavrina

Can you see my hand painted floral silk shawl in the collage? It is in the upper left and right corners. It mingles really well with the lovely illustrations by my beloved Tatiana Mavrina, does not it?

Tatiana Mavrina was a Russian artist famous for her book illustrations. She lived from 1900-1996, and was very prolific. Her works were not limited to illustrations; she painted pictures, too, and made sketches for cartoons. But it were her works for books that brought her fame, recognition and prestigious awards. Books are so much more affordable than pictures, and I had two books illustrated by Mavrina when I was a child. Now I have several, including Russian folk tales and tales for children by Alexander Pushkin, and would like to buy more, but it is not so easy to do now.

I own several books illustrated by her, and reading them is a pleasure. However I do not feel that she was painting for children, and my mother agrees with me. Her pictures are wonderful, but they are clearly for adults, in our view; my own daughter was not impressed at all when she was 4 years old. Now she is 6; just several minutes ago she came to see what I was doing and said the pictures were beautiful, but I know she still prefers more 'life like' pictures to these sophisticated paintings.

Russian lubok, together with other traditional forms of Russian art, clearly was among the origins of these works; however Mavrina went far beyond it. Lubok is always very clear and unambiguous, whereas Mavrina is not. Her paintings are very decorative, highly stylized, with amazing color combinations, but not easily comprehensible for small children. However this is not something to be upset about: I am sure that my daughter will love her works like I do when she becomes older. 

Below are several beautiful examples of Mavrina's paintings, and you can find more here, in the Russian part of the internet (but of course texts will be in Russian), or look for information in English, but there will be fewer paintings of course. You could combine both approaches, it will be the most efficient way.

I would love to publish many more pictures by Tatiana Mavrina - it is such a pleasure for me to look at them - but I am afraid the post will become too long. I have had to make an effort to remember what made me think of Mavrina and write all this; it was a floral vintage silk shawl, painted by hand, which is so redolent of Mavrina style - indeed it looks as if painted by her. I listed it today but I am thinking of removing it... We will see; I think if it does not sell, I will keep it.


  1. Totally fantastic art! Tatiana Mavrina's paintings are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing her talent with us!

    1. Tonya, thank you. I just cannot tell how much I love her, and I am glad you liked her works, too. She deserves to be admired!

  2. I spotted your scarf immediately! You have a very beautiful and distinctive artistic style :)
    I've always admired the rich colours in Russian art, I especially like 2nd last one - it looks like a fairytale!

  3. Her work is beautiful! I love the painting of the castle and waters!
    Your scarf is equally beautiful :)

  4. What lovely artwork! And your shawl is beautiful!

  5. These are all so beautiful. I love all of the colors.

    <3 Melissa


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