On Tuesday I visited the mosaic workshop of the Russian Academy of Art in St. Petersburg. It was amazing to see this historic studio, set up in Tsarist times, still full of life. To this day they have major orders for monumental mosaics, and they still “cook” the same smalti glass that was used in mosaics around the former USSR.
Visiting the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, I was pleased to see an exhibit displaying the Tsarist-era smalti blocks that were used to make the building’s famous mosaics. The same tiles were used to make the Enlik-Kebek mosaic on Almaty’s Hotel Almaty!
Visiting the mosaic workshop at the St. Elisabeth Monastery in Minsk was a dream come true. Smalti paradise!
This week I visited the Neman Factory in Berezovka, Belarus, where stained glass was made for windows around the Soviet Union. I found a mold that matched perfectly the texture seen in Kazakhstani stained glass, a fun link with history, though the stained glass workshop had long been closed and few remember when Kazakh artists would come and work here.
This week I’m in Belarus and Lithuania, so expect some non-Kazakhstan posts. This is in Minsk, an “eternal flame” monument made of colored cast glass, with schoolkids arranged nearby on a field trip.
Sgraffito outside a hunting store on Manas St. in Almaty
One of the better photos we have of the bas-relief on Asem Department Store, which was lost during renovations - a real pity!
Arman Cinema’s bas-reliefs in an archival photograph
Gabriele from Lithuania wrote to me about a @walkingalmaty tour, and I asked offhand if she cpuld bring me some books about Lithuanian stained glass - Baltic artists were considered the masters of this amazing medium in the Soviet Union. Even though I wasn’t able in the end to provide Gabriele a tour, she still sent me a package with these amazing books! Wow! Thank you!