Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“To people’s joy”

The National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art is staging an exhibit of the prominent artist Maria Prymachenko
29 September, 2016 - 10:56
Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

All admirers of the artist’s oeuvre are invited to a very interesting excursion at the exhibit titled “M. P.: Fantastic Reality.” Olena Shestakova, a museum section chief and the keeper of a collection of decorative paintings, icons, and Easter eggs, who personally knew and stayed in close contact with Maria Prymachenko, and formed the museum’s collection of her works for 40 years, will tell about this outstanding personality and unique art mistress. Incidentally, Shestakova was the curator of about 60 Prymachenko exhibits both in Ukraine and abroad. She is, together with Ye.I. Shevchenko, the compiler of the art album “Maria Prymachenko (Pryimachenko).”

Maria Prymachenko (1909-97) was a Ukrainian artist of genius, a People’s Painter of Ukraine. The mistress was widely acclaimed in the art world for a style of her own, which comprised the never-ending variants of decorative, ornamental, genre and landscape compositions with flowers, birds, and beasts. One of the largest collections of Prymachenko’s artworks (650) is kept at the National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art. It spans the time period from the mid-1930s to the mid-to-late 1980s.

“Prymachenko’s worldview is based on the sensation of an indivisible integrity of nature, of all the living beings on Earth. This is why she saw the meaning of her life in creating for people, ‘to people’s joy.’ The artist’s oeuvre is integral and multifaceted – it is rooted in the depths of centuries and rests on a powerful layer of traditional esthetic ideas. Decorative pictures that portray fantastic creatures and beasts occupy a special place in Prymachenko’s artworks. The mistress reaches a high allegory in these unique creations,” Shestakova says. “The size of pictures changes in the course of time. She switches from small transparent watercolors of the 1930s to monumental pictures painted with thick gouache and creates a brilliant series of works, ‘To People’s Joy,’ in the 1960s. The artist was awarded the Ukrainian SSR T.H. Shevchenko State Prize (now the National Taras Shevchenko Prize of Ukraine) for this in 1966.”

Throughout her long artistic life, Prymachenko created hundreds of plot-based and ornamental compositions. Her art is inimitable in the combination of sun-like bright colors, which is typical of her only, the power of their emotional impact, the philosophical meaning of a work, as well as in the originality of compositional decisions.

What is also an integral part of the mistress’s artistic heritage are small texts in the shape of poems, songs, or wishes which she used to place on the back of sheets. Sometimes it is they that reveal the artistic significance of an artwork.

Prymachenko worked until the last days of her life and left us a priceless heritage that calls up associations and thoughts and opens up a particular world – a profound and poetic realm of mysterious and revealing fairytales.

There will also be a program for children, “Let’s Paint in Prymachenko’s Style,” as part of the event.

The exhibit “M. P.: Fantastic Reality” will remain open until October 7.