Lot WB6

«Soviet research drifting station “North Pole” USSR 1958» butterfly painting





30x40 cm

Frame size:

30 x 40 cm


butterfly painting

available in Dubai

10.000 $


Lot Essay

«Soviet Scientific Drifting Station ‘North Pole’ — Commemorative Butterfly Painting»

This unique artwork commemorates the Soviet scientific drifting station ‘North Pole,’ an integral part of Arctic exploration history. The postage stamp, originally issued with a face value of 1 ruble, hails from a series dedicated to this remarkable scientific endeavor. The stamp vividly illustrates the station’s scientific observations, showcasing the rugged Arctic polar environment where these hard-to-reach research outposts were established.

In 1955, the USSR Post released a series of three postage stamps celebrating the Soviet scientific drifting station ‘North Pole.’ These research stations, strategically positioned on drifting ice in the Arctic Ocean, played a pivotal role in advancing various fields of science, including oceanology, meteorology, aerology, geophysics, hydrochemistry, hydrophysics, and marine biology.

The story behind this exceptional artwork has a unique origin. In the autumn of 1954, during the first shift of polar explorers, the talented artist Igor Ruban visited the NP-4 station. This extraordinary creative journey proved to be highly productive. Subsequently, Ruban made several more trips to other drifting stations and even ventured to Antarctica. His report on the NP-4 trip resulted in a personal exhibition of his works displayed in 1954 at the Art Salon on Kuznetsky Most in Moscow. The exhibition garnered significant attention, leading the Ministry of Communications to commission Ruban to create postage stamps featuring his drawings of the drifting Arctic station.

The postage stamps from the ‘Soviet Scientific Drifting Station ‘North Pole» series capture both a panoramic view of the scientific station and the intricate scientific observations conducted there. What makes this artwork truly unique is the use of butterfly wings in its creation:

  1. White Butterflies (Pieridae): These are daytime butterflies known for their typically white wings adorned with striking yellow, orange, and black patterns. They possess club-shaped antennae, rounded-triangular front wings, and ovoid hind wings.
  2. Brown Slug Moth (Heterogenea asella): This butterfly species belongs to the slug moth family and is found throughout Europe. It is a small butterfly with unpatterned dark brown wings in males.
  3. Morphidae (Morphinae): Morphids, part of the Nymphalidae family, are renowned for their breathtaking beauty. They inhabit tropical rainforests in America and have wide wings with a marvelous blue sheen, attributed to the optical scales covering their wings.
  4. Blue Oreas (Maslowskia oreas): This butterfly is endemic to the Far East, featuring wings with a violet-blue color and a narrow black edge in males. Females exhibit a distinct black pattern near the apex of the wing.

The brilliance of this artwork lies not only in its historical significance but also in the intricate use of butterfly wings to create a visually captivating masterpiece. Each wing beat of these butterflies becomes visible from a third of a kilometer away in bright sunlight, adding a remarkable dimension to this commemorative piece.

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Lot WB6

«Soviet research drifting station “North Pole” USSR 1958» butterfly painting

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Lot WB6

«Soviet research drifting station “North Pole” USSR 1958» butterfly painting

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