СКАЭОЧНАЯ АЗБУКА. (SKAZOCHNAIA AZBUKA). (A FAIRY TALE ALPHABET).
The large format edition of this brilliantly coloured Cyrillic alphabet by Mavrina. “Née à Nijni Novgorod, cette dessinatrice, illustrateur, et peintre russe est une figure emblématique du petit groupe des artistes préservés tout au long du siècle par les régimes successifs.” (Lévèque et Plantureux, DICTIONNAIRE DES ILLUSTRATEURS DE LIVRES D’ENFANTS RUSSES, p. 175.) Within each letter of the alphabet, itself an explosion of colour in the folkloric style favoured by this Russian artist, there is a folk tale. The letters are printed large and free-form in gold, silver, blues, reds, greens, etc., and each letter is filled with extraordinary fairy tale characters representing a tale such as the fire-bird or the frog princess. Additional illustrations carry out the tale and accompany the letters. The designs almost burst from the page; in some cases, a dramatic a double-page design is offered. The backgrounds to the pages are printed in different colours lending mood and impact to the varied scenes. No doubt Mavrina’s childhood years spent witnessing the decorative stage settings and performances of fairy tales organized for children by her mother had an influence on this book (see Lemmens and Lemmens, RUSSIAN ARTISTS AND THE CHILDREN’S BOOK 1890-1992 p. 371). Tatiana Mavrina was a painter, illustrator and author who began her career in Moscow during the early years of the “vkhutemas” revolutionary state art and technical studios. She went on to take part in the art group, Trinadsat, or The Thirteen. During WWII she travelled to the older Russian cities whose important architecture was being destroyed and began to sketch ruins and remains. “ These drawings I understood as preparatory studies for my fairy tale illustrations.” ( as quoted in Lemmens and Lemmens p. 373). While she experimented with different styles and influences during the years, the exuberance of folkloric forms and brilliant colour came to characterize her best work. “ Her art culminated in Skazochnaia Azbuka in which there is a complete unity between verbal and pictorial elements on each of the pages.” Lemmen and Lemmen p. 379) “A Rhythmic Arrangement of Text and Illustrations” Cotsen N. o23187 for this large format with additional white protective jacket. Oblong 4to (23.5 x 30.5 cm); 40 unnumbered pp. profusely illustrated in colors; decorative endpapers.
Original flexible orange covers printed in gilt; dust-jacket printed in gold with multi-colour pictorial designs and lettering, some very small nicks, rub marks, and tears just to the edges only of the dust jacket. A very good copy.
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