Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 184: Pushkin's Fairy Tales, by Alexander Pushkin

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Pushkin's Fairy Tales 
Alexander Pushkin
(Tr. by Jacob Krup & Oliver Elton) 
 Hardcover, 152 pages
 Medny Vsadnik Trading House Publishers
  Classics, Fantasy,Poetry,
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a total jewel of a book! I almost have no words to express my aesthetic delight when looking at this cover. It's simply exquisite!

This is a typically Russian style of painting, based on the same techniques as those used for painting icons, which, of course, have a more religious connotation. This type of painting is done on lacquer, with a black background. The paintings are usually miniatures. The black background makes the colors stand out and shine! 

The cover of this book, as well as the incredibly GORGEOUS illustrations throughout the entire volume, are the work of a group of artists residing in the Russian settlement of Palekh, which is the administrative center of Palekhsky District of Ivanov Oblast, Russia. According to the 2010 census, the population is 5,337. (Source: Wikipedia) 

The artists who participated in the illustration of this magnificent book are too numerous to mention, but they are obviously all masters of their craft. They have achieved a luminosity, a gracefulness of design and composition, that will truly elicit total awe and delight in anyone who buys this collection. Each illustration is a little masterpiece of this Russian folk art, as each of them is a miniature. They all boggle my mind! Their sheer beauty is more than enough to keep me in a state of wonder and happiness for many hours at a time, and I'm not exaggerating! These illustrations are visual treasures, as precious -- although much cheaper -- as the most highly valued precious stones! 

I love everything about this cover! The bright, sparkling colors, the beautifully drawn and painted elements, which are realistic, and yet, highly stylized. This image, as well as the ones sprinkled throughout the book, remind me very strongly of ancient Persian art. There must have been some influence along the way, I think. Yet, the inherent spirituality of Russian art, even when adorning a book that has nothing to do with religion, still shines through. 

I also love the highly detailed, ornamental border around the cover image. Together with the font, which is reminiscent of the Russian alphabet, even though it's in English, and done in gold, this cover is truly a stunning image! 

I am the fortunate owner of this beautiful jewel of a book! I first saw it on eBay, and had it in my"Watched Items List" for quite some time. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and just went ahead and bought it! 

The book is also available on the U.S. Amazon website, for anyone who would like to buy it. I'm sure it can also be found at Amazon UK, as well as Amazon CA. 

The overall design of the book is by Denis Lazarev. The photographs of the artwork are by Pavel Demidov and Oleg Trubsky. Some of the artists involved are: Oleg An, Andrei Arapov, Svetlana Baikina, Grigory and Ivan Bakanov, Valentina Belozerova, and many others. 

I especially love the fact that women artists are also represented in this book. There are husband and wife collaborations, as well. Unfortunately, the illustrations are not individually credited, except perhaps in Internet articles about the book. 

I am so very proud and honored to have this beautiful volume in my personal library! I know I will enjoy it for many years to come! Of course, since a literary master wrote these fairy tales, I will enjoy them, as well!     


Online Links

What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. I love this cover too.

    The colors are used so effectively. Though there is not a lot of black background, what little there is makes a very effective contrast.

    My knowledge of Russian style art is minimal, but what I have seen I have particularly like. The depiction of people's faces as well as horses seems very distinctive and is illustrated in this cover.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Yes, isn't it GORGEOUS?

      The colors are indeed used very effectively. I think that the black background gives the cover an overall jewel-like effect. It's absolutely STUNNING!!

      I don't know that much about Russian art myself, but would love to know more, so I will be researching it. I've bought some religious icons on eBay, and I treasure them! Orthodox churches are full of them, as you probably know. I've always preferred 2D art for some reason, so I'd really prefer going to a church with paintings on the wall, instead of statues.

      I hope to be able to buy more books like this one in the future.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! :)

  2. WOW. I feel like I should be in a dusty, immense library picking this up from a shelf. It's gorgeous!

    1. Hi, Verushka!

      Glad you like this cover! Yes, it's definitely a very beautiful one!! And it does look like you would have to go to such a library to get it. Lol. However, it was published this year. The painting techniques, though, are ancient.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!! Hope you're having a GREAT Monday!! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Hi,there!

      Yes, it is! I'm so glad you like it, too! Thanks for stopping by!! :)

  4. This truly is beautiful beyond words! There should be a story about a book like this....

    1. Hi, Mareli!

      Yes, it is! You put that very well! And I agree -- there should indeed be a story about this type of book!

      The painting techniques used to produce this book are very ancient. I need to do more research on them, and see if there are more books like this one.

      Thanks so much for commenting!! :)


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