The Art of Enamel

Enamel (Fr. email, Rus. finift) is a durable glasslike covering fused to the metallic object through the process of firing.

Russian Encyclopedic Dictionary

Even though the vast majority of the viewers are not very well acquainted with artistic enamel, the artwork executed in this fire technique highlights some of the world’s most respected museum collections, including Moscow Kremlin, The Hermitage, and the Louvre. The enamel arts of  ancient China, India and Byzantine Empire are very well known. In Russia, the Rostov’s miniature enamel is a famous traditional art form.

Enamel developed in ancient Egypt and is considered to be one of the oldest materials, just like glass and ceramics. It evolved through centuries and new techniques of cloisonné, champlevé, plaque, and plaque-a-jour enamel have been developed. Enamel is basically colored glass applied to a sheet of copper silver or gold, and fired in a special regime. It is a lengthy and difficult technological process; every layer is applied separately, dried, and then fired at a temperature of 850° C. Fusion of glass and metal creates a surface resistant to time and surroundings. It does not fade or loose its shine, and shares qualities of both glass and metal.

In the medieval Europe enamel was an elite art form. It was used for decoration of crowns and other objects for royalty and clergy. In the twentieth century scientific progress gave an uplift in technique advancement: enamel paints became more available, the sizes of the artworks increased, and the palette of enamel paints became more diverse. Contemporary artistic enamel has wide possibilities for experimentation, combining traditional ways with new and unexpected techniques. An important aspect of working in enamel is its framing. Traditionally enamel was framed in gold and silver. In the 21st century artists began to combine enamel with precious metals as well as with new materials such as plastic, wood and leather.

Enamel is a durable material: alloy, metal and glass make it resistant to aggressive environments. It is not afraid of sunlight, cold, water, fire. These qualities make enamel the most attractive for investment in the arts. An enamel art work is the best gift for ages! It becomes widespread as a part of modern interiors due to its bright decoration and texture. Enamel art becomes a symbol of innovation, outstanding solutions and excellent durability.

Mikhail Selishchev was introduced to the art of enamel over 20 years ago. He was mesmerized by this unusual and rare medium and by its broad capabilities in the realm of modern art. Over the years the artist abandoned painting and architecture devoting himself fully to working and experimentation with enamel. He learned rigorously from masters of enamel arts such as N. Vdovkin, G. Derviz, V. Orlov, A. Talaschuk and through different symposiums in Russia and abroad. Annual symposiums in the Khors Сenter provided for gathering world’s experience in the technology of enamel arts. Artists from Europe, India, America and Australia took part in these symposiums. Today Mikhail Selishchev is a world-known artist. He readily shares his knowledge and experiences by actively participating in exhibitions and by giving workshops in different countries, promoting the fantastic beauty of the most durable material.

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