Russian artist pays pearl tribute to British queen

Mon Apr 4, 2011 1:13pm EDT
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By Ilya Naymushin

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (Reuters) - A Russian artist in Siberia has spent a small personal fortune on over a thousand pearls for a religious painting he has made for Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Clad in embroidered robes, Adam and Eve sit in thrones on a suspended Garden of Eden in Anatoly Pastyrev's painting, which is crowned by a Russian Orthodox icon and pearl-encrusted throughout.

"The British monarchy in particular has been the bastion of modern civilization which has centuries-old traditions coming from Christianity," Pastyrev told Reuters on Sunday at his home in the taiga forest encircling Krasnoyarsk, some 3,300 km (2,000 miles) east of Moscow.

Pastyrev now wants to give the painting, called "Glorification of the Lord," to the British monarch as a tribute to her title as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

The bulldozer operator-turned-artist spent months working on the painting, which has 1,360 natural pearls he bought in Moscow for the handsome sum of 500,000 roubles (10,947 pounds).

"The British royal court is the oldest, most powerful and most influential," said Pastyrev, 57, who was a fervent communist in Soviet days.

He is now looking for a way to give the painting -- which measures one meter (yard) by 1.4 metres long and is pearl-encrusted along its outline, throughout the garden and on the bubble-like clouds -- to Buckingham Palace as a gift.

But Pastyrev wants to wait while the "heat" surrounding Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton on April 29 dies down before attempting to get his artwork to the British monarch.

"I am thrilled by this event... I have nothing but respect for the young Prince William," he said.

(Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Artist Anatoly Pastyrev points at his painting at a city museum in the town of Nazarovo, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Krasnoyarsk, April 3, 2011. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin</p>