20th Century AD
4.75″ (12.1cm) high x 3″ (7.6cm) wide
Of all of the creations of the House of Fabergé none possesses the mystique attached to the Imperial Easter Eggs. Their centrality to Fabergé’s entire oeuvre is so dominant that one immediately thinks of these eggs first whenever the name of Fabergé is mentioned. In order to place these eggs in context, it is worth recalling that the egg was anciently imbued with overtones of resurrection, later a suitable symbol for Christian Easter. The practice of distributing eggs as reminder’s of Christ’s resurrection began in the Middle Ages, and developed in Russia where the traditional gift of an egg at Easter was accompanied by the recipient receiving three kisses. In Russia, such Easter eggs may be lavishly decorated, as examples of pysanky, the art of beautifully dyed Ukrainian Easter eggs, reveal. The practice of presenting actual Easter eggs, therefore, was an established tradition in Russia, but Fabergé perfected the concept of creating bejeweled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial family when he created the very first for Tsar Alexander III to present to his wife, the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, as a gift on Easter 1885.
The House of Fabergé created an entire line of Easter eggs for clients and patrons other than the Russian Imperial family. This particular example is a reflection of those creations. In keeping with Fabergé’s innate Neo-classical sentiments, the design of this egg is dominated by symmetry as the four swans, each beautifully modeled in relief, occupy a respective, upper quadrant where they serenely swim upon the rippling waters evocative of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, popularly performed in Russia during Fabergé’s life time. The swans are surrounded by an abundance of floral forms which become more plentiful at the bottom. Six garnets enhance the sparkling quality of this creation which is provided by its own unique tripod support in the form of swan’s legs resting on bolsters. .
Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi.
Robert Steven Bianchi, Fabergé. Exhibition Album (St. Petersburg 2000), pages 18-21, passim, for a succinct discussion about Fabergé and these Imperial Easter eggs, some of which are show-cased elsewhere in this book. For other examples of Fabergé’s non-imperial Easter eggs, see Geza Von Habsburg, Alexander von Solodkoff, and Robert Steven Bianchi, Fabergé. Imperial Craftsman and his World (London 2000), pages 157, catalogue number 309, page 160, catalogue number 311, passim. .Login to view price