Born in 1957, Sergei Lukyanov grew up in pastoral Lorevo in Moscow County. Near Fedoskino, this is Russia’s oldest center for lacquered miniature paintings. Many residents of the area paint lacquered miniatures but only a select few paint for the actual Fedoskino School,* where Sergei was accepted at the age of sixteen to carry on the 200-year-old tradition of the finest miniature painting in all of Russia.
After serving his mandatory two years in the military, Sergei became part of the Arts and Crafts Enterprise of the Moscow Patriarch. In the town of Sophrino in the vicinity of Zagorsk, he painted elaborate icons for churches. The Arts and Crafts Enterprise also worked to produce Art exhibits in Moscow of traditional lacquered miniature paintings. Sergei, as head of the artist cooperative, presented the show of lacquered miniatures in handcrafted fine silver frames. His successful Moscow shows led to exhibitions of his work in Zurich and Valencia and eventually, the United States.
In 1998, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Sergei Lukyanov won the “green card lottery” and moved to the U.S. As the only known Fedoskino artist in the country, he continues to pass on his heritage and preserve the traditional Fedoskino painting techniques by teaching and as an artisan in Philadelphia.
*The Fedoskino School was started in 1796 by a merchant named Piotr Korobov who devised an idea to make snuff boxes affordable for the middle classes. Snuff boxes were made of precious metals and stones and therefore quite expensive. Using paper maché, oil paint and gold leaf Korobov was able to create small boxes that were elegant and more affordable than their bejeweled predecessor. With very realistic imagery, these boxes were stronger than wood and would not expand due to weather or age.