The Artists of the Ukraine – Part 1

Art has expressed culture through the ages, and Ukrainian art has had many influences from the past and has produced a number of highly talented and famous artists. The art galleries situated in Ukraine are of high quality and display work of many different styles, including drawings, paintings, sculptures and even graphic art.

The galleries have both international and Ukrainian works, and recently private art galleries began playing a major role in showing newer works from contemporary artists. If you take the time out to visit these excellent galleries on your trip to the Ukraine, you can get a glimpse into the culture of its people and the way that they think. In this blog we look at some of the greatest Ukrainian artists that have ever lived.

Dmitry Levitsky – 1735 – 1822

When it comes to Ukrainian portrait art, Dmitry Levitsky comes high on the list. He is known for his mastery of ceremonial portrait art and he was somebody who could paint posture and body movement as it actually was. He also had a gift of using color to replicate skin tone. He first came to public attention after an exhibition at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg which contained six of his paintings. His works impressed the academy so much that he was appointed as the professor of portrait painting. His most famous works include the series of portraits he made for the Smolny Institute for young Ladies.

Taras Shevchenko – 1814 – 1861

Shevchenko is an unusual character as he was really known for his literary genius rather than his artistic work. But he was more than a capable illustrator and artist. He was an academic at the Russian Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg which was then known as the Imperial Academy of Arts.

Whilst he was there, his work was recognized and awarded, his eye for a landscape painting brought many admirers, later on he also received a prize for an oil. His topics were usually of nature, and the culture of the average Ukrainian. A demonstration of this can be seen in his album, Picturesque Ukraine. During his time, Shevchenko contributed greatly to art development in his country. He was also known as a talented portrait painter and has remained an important figure in Ukrainian portrait art.

Ilya Repin – 1844 – 1930

Born in Kharkiv Oblast – former Russian Empire and current Ukraine – Repin was recognized as an outstanding realist painter and was one of the figures that was fundamental to bring Russian art to the notice of Europe. One of his most famous works is the magnificent Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. Other notable contributions were, Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan, and Barge Haulers on the Volga. Repin was always searching for new ways to paint and would readily try new techniques to embellish his paintings and give them more depth. His favorite topic was the average man, and the subjects of his country. In part two of our blog into great Ukrainian painters, we will be discovering even more great artists and their work.