Stone figures, three-dimensional mosaic, blocked or polychrome sculpture – these are all different names for multi-colored gemstone carving sculpture made of various kinds of ornamental stone. In simple terms, these are the figures of people or fantastic characters, in which different types of natural stones are connected into the unified sculptural composition.
To create them are used semi-precious stones with extensive color palette, carefully chosen by the masters of gemstone carving art. With this in different colors and textures you can create the costume details are part of the scenic or architectural decoration and other elements of the artistic image. The good selection of stone with a pronounced texture and pattern allow emphasizing the features and characteristics of each historical or fictional character.
History of the mosaic gemstone sculpture
In the Russian applied art the figures, made of different materials, had been existed since the time of Peter I. But in the beginning of the XX century Carl Faberge was the first who invented to do them in the blocked form – from different stones. Thus, the best known polychrome stone figures were made by Faberge and embodied the variety of folk and urban types.
Initially, in art of the gemstone carving polychrome sculptures emerged as a genre of figures of people “in a form close to the natural” (S.Falkin); fictional characters began to appear much later – nowadays. Through the creation of the “Russian types” Faberge there had been a search of the Russian national idea, and then they became objects of art and antiques. The name for them gave the Faberge’s master Franz Bierbaum – “human figures” or “mosaic sculpture.” Later, with the emergence of successors to the ideas of Carl Faberge, there appeared such terms as “three-dimensional mosaic”, “polychrome” and “blocked sculpture.”
It is notable that until 1917 stone figures were “royal” or “king” toys. Today, polychrome sculpture is producing mainly in St. Petersburg and the Urals – places with the best prepared audience to understand the beauty of stone and gemstone carving art.
Polychrome is especially valued by collectors, due to both the complexity and virtuosity of its creation – and the exclusivity of created jewelry and carved gemstone artworks. It should be noted that the pattern of each stone is unique, so the polychrome sculptures made from different types of stone, can’t be repeated “one in one.” As a result of this, miniature carved gemstone sculptures have such appeal and deserve special attention.