Tag: carpatho-rusyn landscape painting

Emil Hrabovskyi – realism with a poetic touch

The Beskyds (1945) by Emil Hrabovsky Source: Old Cherdak
The Beskyds (1945) by Emil Hrabovsky Source: Old Cherdak

Emil Hrabovskyi was born in 1892 in Uzhhorod. His artistic legacy of around 500 paintings and drawings became a valuable part of the Transcarpathian and Ukrainian art. His works reflect the influence of the Hungarian realist tradition, the Transcarpathian School of Art (that he helped to found) and his own sensitivity to those fleeting moments of the day when, for example, the sunset is almost over or the mist in the mountains is about to disappear. Hrabovskyi’s landscapes truthfully reflect the nature, but because he chooses subjects that are dear to him and focuses on those ephemeral moments, he is able to bring in a level of lyricism that the views before him offer and that he uncovers. Hrabovskyi was slowly building his reputation and acceptance. His art was flourishing during the Soviet area when the state was creating an atmosphere favorable to the artists, buying his paintings and making them parts of the permanent exhibitions in the museums of Lviv, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk and others. Hrabovskyi passed away in 1955, two years after a solo exhibition showing over 90 artworks documenting his career development.

The Mountain View (1948) by Emil Hrabovskyi Source: Old Cherdak
The Mountain View (1948) by Emil Hrabovskyi Source: Old Cherdak

Štefan Hapák – devoted to his land and people

An Autumn Landscape by Stefan Hapak
An Autumn Landscape by Stefan Hapak

Štefan Hapák was born in 1921 in Pinkovce, and was one of the pioneers of modern art in the second half of the 20th century in Slovakia. He studied under world-class professors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (and in turn became a great professor himself, loaded with knowledge, honest and respected), and stayed tightly connected to the Rusyn culture in his life and work, capturing its architecture, lands, and even traditional garments, never leaving the lands of eastern Slovakia.

His first teaching position was at an elementary school in Zboj, eastern Slovakia, but the same year (1944) he was taken into a concentration camp in Hungary, from which he escaped in 1945. He helped to organize the return of incarcerated citizens after the war. Afterwards, Hapák worked as a teacher in different towns in eastern Slovakia, and from 1953 until his retirement at the universities in Presov and Kosice, becoming a professor of drawing and graphic design in 1972. He passed away in Ľubotice where a significant exhibition of his artwork was held in 2011, celebrating his contribution to the art world at his would-be 90th birthday.

Hapák’s paintings and pastels are executed in a style that is close to the Transcarpathian School of Painting in combining realist and more abstract, flattening elements, according to the curator Vladislav Grešlik.

 

A Gypsy Family by Stefan Hapak
A Gypsy Family by Stefan Hapak

Zoryana “Bazka” Bazylevych – evoking the childhood fairy-tales

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2013 was the second year that Zoryana Bazylevych exhibited with The Warhol Effect: Lemko Jerusalem in southern Poland. Zoryana studied decorative arts and textile design  in Lviv, she has a law degree, and also works as a book cover designer and an illustrator. One of her significant exhibitions was held in April 2013 in Lviv, in the largest exhibition hall in Ukraine, The Palace of Arts. She showed thirty of her still-lifes and landscapes described by the critics as “a diary of emotions secured in by colors in a manner of folk fairy tales, often using a childlike perspective, yet not so much infantile as unhampered by stereotypes.”

Nevertheless, which dimension of childhood fairy tales are we getting here? I dare say it is not the ephemeral quality of barely-there fairies and invisible beings that make you consider magic. It is rather the solid quality of the land and the people’s connection to it that colored their everyday striving and their imagination which helped transferring to the next generation the tradition, wisdom and beauty,  but also doubts and fears. Zoryana captures this complex verbal tradition and makes it visual. Her paintings are rich, firm and substantial, they do not disappear into a haze at the first sign of approaching human footsteps. They will stand their ground to reveal the story of the inspiration that is behind them.

Vasily and Anatoly Brenzovich – the views of the Rusyn lands

I’ve been lately looking more at Rusyn artists from Slovakia and realized how relatively easy it was to point them down, which made me remember the Vice-Chancellor of Transcarpathian Art Institute in Uzhorod, Mykhail Prymych, who reminded me of the difficulty in delineating Rusyn artists in Ukraine, partly due to Ukraine’s long resistance to Rusyns as a national minority. At least I have some names of the artists living and working in Subcarpathian Rus, provided to me by a C-RS trustee Thomas Brenzovich.

When I observe landscape paintings by Rusyn artists, I often notice that flow of warm colors underlined by the bluish tones in the background, that suppleness of line defining the all-embracing hills of the Carpathians, and the intimate moment when the land is captured. This movement in stillness is enabled by the impressionist technique which allies the European impressionists with the founders of the Transcarpathian School of Painting. The souls of two artists, Anatoly Brenzovich and Vasily Brenzovich, are shown here through their visions of the Rusyn lands:

Source: http://art-nostalgie.com.ua/Brenzovich_A.html
Petros (2010) by Anatoly Brenzovich
Source: http://art-nostalgie.com.ua/Brenzovich_A.html
Source: http://sfart.ru/info/artists/201
Pod Vysokym (2008) by Vasily Brenzovich
Source: http://sfart.ru/info/artists/201