A recently-published news article briefly turned the world’s attention from politics to art as a previously stolen Ukrainian painting returned home this month. The painting, “Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina” by Mikhail Panin, was created in 1911 but disappeared from the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum in the early 1940s. A Connecticut couple received the painting as part of a property purchase in 1962, only realizing its historical value upon listing it for auction as a part of their intent to downsize from the home to a condo.
The article spurred my curiosity and I struck out to research other Ukrainian art and artists. To my surprise, there are many. So, I decided to take a break from my usual, politically-based articles and share a little bit about a few notable Ukrainian artists instead.
Named one of the Top 100 Living Geniuses by the Daily Telegraph in 2007, Ivan Marchuk is a native Ukrainian painter responsible for over 4,000 paintings. His work is considered contemporary and has been featured in approximately 100 exhibits. Since his departure from Ukraine, the artist has found residence in Canada, Australia, and the United States.
Dmitry Levitzky was most known for creating portraits that combined color and posture to create intrigue and intensity. He was born in Kiev in 1735 but his most famous painting, “Architect Alexander Kokorinov, Director and First Rector of the Imperial Academy of Arts”, was not completed until 1769. Levitzky was never properly commissioned for any of his works and thus, died without wealth in 1822.
Oleksandr (Alexander) Bogomazov
Referred to as the Ukrainian Picasso, Alexander Bogomazov was a Ukrainian painter and writer most famous for “Composition N2,” “Tram,” and “Portrait of the Daughter.” Although his style was primarily Cubo-Futurism and Spectralism, he did experiment with (and subsequently master) various other styles in his lifetime.
Oleksandr (Alexander) Murashko
This particular painter studied under several other famous Ukrainian and Russian artists in the early stages of his career. Though he began his career studying realism, Alexander Murashko was most known for his impressionist style. Murashko was the recipient of much success and taught in Kiev prior to his death in 1919.
Taras Shevchenko was more than just a Ukrainian painter. He was also a writer, poet, and politician. As a result, he is likely the most famous artist on this list. Shevchenko frequently depicted Ukrainian life in his work. He painted numerous portraits, landscapes, and various other compositions, 835 of which are around today. Sadly, many of them do not possess dates or signatures, making identification difficult.
I know there are countless other Ukrainian artists out there, especially in the contemporary genre. If you have a favorite, feel free to drop his or her name in the comments!