Culture of Arkhangel'skoye

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Despite the fact that several notable Russian artists including Vasily Vereshchagin traveled into the region in the 19th century, the professional (non-icon) painting did not develop in Arkhangelsk until 1890s. Alexander Borisov, Stepan Pisakhov, and Tyko Vylka, all of them landscape painters interested in Northern and Arctic landscapes, are considered as the founders of Arkhangelsk painting.

Various handicrafts were developed in the area. The most notable ones are the Kholmogory bone carving, existing since the 17th century, and Kargopol toys, moulded painted clay figures of people and animals.


Russian North, and, in particular, Arkhangelsk Oblast is an area notable for its folklore. Until the middle of the 20th century, fairy tales and bylinas were still performed on the daily basis by performers who became professionals. Some of them, like Mariya Krivopolenova, were invited to perform in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg and achieved prominence. One of the first Arkhangelsk folklore collector was Alexander Hilferding, who actually died in Kargopol during his journey. Starting from 1890s, folkloric expeditions have been organized to the White Sea area, and later to other areas of the Arkhangelsk Governorate, in order to write down the tales and the bylinas, in particular, in Pomor dialects. In 1920s, mostly due to the efforts of Anna Astakhova, these expeditions became systematic. The results have been published. By 1960s, the performing art was basically extinct. These folkloric motives and fairy tales inspired the literary works of Stepan Pisakhov and Boris Shergin, who were both natives of Arkhangelsk.

Protopope Avvakum, a 17th century monk, who led the opposition (raskol) against the reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church, was in 1664 exiled for two years in Mezen, and in 1667 was imprisoned in Pustozyorsk, currently in Nenets Autonomous Okrug, for 14 years before being burned alive. Avvakum is an