Cigar Box with Miniature: Ivan Trsarevich, the Fire Bird and the Grey Wolf


The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

In the cartouche, Rückert has transcribed a painting by Victor Vasnetsov (1848-1926), Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf (1889). The enameller has lightened the color scheme and expanded the composition, widening it on both sides. The popular subject was taken from an old Russian fairy tale collected by the folklorist Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki (Russian Fairy Stories), published between 1855-1863. To summarize the tale, Ivan, the youngest of the Tsar's three sons, seized a feather from the tail of a firebird. When the tsar offered half his kingdom to whichever son who captured the firebird, Ivan departed on his horse, which was devoured by a wolf one night. Subsequently, the beast agreed to serve as Ivan's mount in the horse's stead. En route, Ivan was captured by a second tsar, who offered to spare him providing that he deliver the beautiful princess Anne to become this tsar's bride. Again the wolf came to the rescue: Anne is carried off by Ivan mounted on the wolf.

The colors of the naturalistically rendered scene harmonize with the somber filigree and shaded enamelwork in browns, olive, dark green, blue, orange, turquoise, and cream. The patterns are predominantly abstract blossoms, trees, spirals, and waves.

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  • Title: Cigar Box with Miniature: Ivan Trsarevich, the Fire Bird and the Grey Wolf
  • Creator: Joseph Abramovich Marshak
  • Date Created: 1908-1917
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Manufacturer: Joseph Abramovich Marshak, Workshop: Style of Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917)
  • Provenance: Jean M. Riddell, Washington, D.C. [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 2010, by bequest.
  • Object Type: boxes; cigar cases
  • Medium: silver gilding, painted matte and filigree enamel, cabochon sapphire thumb piece
  • Inscriptions: [Marks] Inside bottom of box in Cyrillic: I.Marshak; [Symbols] kokoshnik right, v, 84, circular kokoshnik; [Symbol] Inside lid: circucular kokoshnik; [Mark] In Cyrillic: I. Marshak overstriking an unidentified mark; [Number] On edge of compartment lid: MIP3, 875
  • Geography: Place of Origin: Kiyev
  • Dimensions: H: 1 5/8 x W: 7 1/16 x D: 4 15/16 in. (4.1 x 18 x 12.5 cm)
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Jean M. Riddell, 2010
  • Classification: Enamels
  • Accession Number: 44.941

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