Tag: carpatho-rusyn artist from slovakia

Miro Potoma – a follower of the naive art tradition

For this post I had to delve a little into new art terminology. One of the contemporary Rusyn artists from Strocin, Slovakia, Miroslav Potoma, now 55 years old, is an artist whose most fruitful creative years have been marked by a tendency towards naive art (pioneered by Henry Rousseau). The term itself should not be read as childish and immature, but rather as innately genuine, native and natural.

The Village of Korejovce by Miroslav Potoma. Source: Miroslav Potoma Website
The Village of Korejovce by Miroslav Potoma. Source: Miroslav Potoma Website

Potoma’s passion for painting developed in his early years and he’s now an internationally known and award-winning artist specializing in landscape painting using different media – lino-cut, oil, pastel, drawing. He’s still living and working right there in his homeland so if you are looking for something authentic through and through, something that will bring out the magic of your Rusyn traditions and half-forgotten childhood memories, his paintings are it.


Dezider Milly – a big artist from a tiny village

Dezider Milly was a Rusyn artist born in Kyjov, in the district of Stara Lubovna in eastern Slovakia. He achieved the status of a nationally recognized artist. As you can see, his style was unique (the painting On the Way From Work gives the viewers a feeling of being unfinished, yet it has enough to present the subject matter in a satisfactory way), and already as a graduate he was critically acclaimed. One of his lovely fairy-tale like landscapes was used for a stamp in 2006. For more information on this re-known artist, visit this link.

On the Way from Work (1956) by Dezider MillySource: http://www.webumenia.sk/web/guest/search/-/simpleSearch//query=au%3A%22Dezider+Milly%22
On the Way from Work (1956) by Dezider Milly
Source: Web Umenia
The landscape that made it into a 2006 stamp
The landscape that made it into a 2006 stamp
The 2006 stamp

Volodymyr Mykyta – the soul of Transcarpathia

So I’m finding out that lots of resources on Rusyn visual artists are in Ukrainian or Russian language. I’ve asked a  friend of mine, Lucia from Slovakia, who is fluent in both to throw some websites my way so I could access the photos and other information about the artists I’m interested in.

This piece is a wonderful modern take on solitude by Volodymyr Mykyta, a still active and very famous painter born in Rakoshyno (now Ukraine), one of the last living members of the Transcarpathian School of Painting.

Here is a fantastic little article about him published at his 80th birthday when a permanent exhibition of the School was opened by The National Museum of Fine Arts of Ukraine in 2011.

His latest exhibition was in 2016 at his 85th birthday in Uzhorod, showcasing eight dozen of his artworks that he felt were the most important on his creative journey.

Andrej Gaj – the author of monumental artworks

A Tribute to Women (2000) by Andrej Gaj

Andrej Gaj was born in Sukov, southern Slovakia. He specialized in landscape and figure painting, still life and portrait, and he was also very skilled in monumental artwork – stucco lustro, stone mosaics and ceramics. In this work, devoted to women, you can notice the confluence of abstract shapes and the three figures of rather regular outlines, occupying the center of the picture plane in poses that are neither quite relaxed nor quite vigorous, creating a wonderful tension in the vision, freezing that short moment which exists between stillness and action.

His daughter, Anna Gajova is an artist in her own right, actively exhibiting in Slovakia and abroad. After her father passed away in 2016 at 84 years old, she has been working on having his monograph published in fall of 2017.

Ernest Kontratovych – an artist from Kalna Roztoka

My search for contemporary Rusyn artists is not an easy one, I’ll tell you. But I’ve found a bunch of them active throughout the 20th century. The images of their work are so endearing to me, I see so many familiar objects and themes… It’s turning out to be a very emotional process.

This first work called By the Cradle is by Ernest Kontratovych, who was born in a tiny village Kalná Roztoka, Slovakia, that is only 17 minutes away from my hometown and it is also where my dad, now a bus-driver, makes a stop to collect people on his way to Nova Sedlica and back to Snina.

By  the Cradle by Ernest Kontratovych. Source: http://www.day.kiev.ua/en/article/time-out/ernest-kontratovych-showing-great-small