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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

Volodymyr Mykyta’s Transcarpatian fairy tale

To commemorate the artist’s 80th birthday anniversary, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Ukraine opens an extended permanent exhibit of the Transcarpatian school of art
8 November, 2011 - 00:00
MIRKA-MISHANNIA / Photo replica provided by the author

Transcarpatian art is created by a whole pleiad of exceptionally gifted artists who have contributed with their canvases to create the gold fund of Ukrainian art. Andrii Kotska, Yosyp Bokshai, Adalbert Erdeli and others are among them. And Volodymyr Mykyta’s fairy and at the same time authentic paintings are not to be overlooked here.

This year the famous master from Uzhhorod celebrated his 80th birthday anniversary. Continuing classical traditions, Mykyta makes a point of sticking to serious and social subjects in his paintings. For instance, in his Rany Karpat (The Wounds of the Carpathians), completed as far back as in 1983, we can see a collective image of the high and mighty exploiting the wealth of the mountains. The problem is not new, yet so burning.

The painter himself is convinced that he was chosen, in a way: to be born and live in a country, where earthly beauty departs from reality and where the sky meets the earth, is a gift of fortune. Everything is vibrant with pride and independence, from a little tree on a mountain top to a wedding dance or a mother’s lullaby.

“Transcarpathian fairy-tale” is the best term for those canvases where the features of the authentic Transcarpathian school of painting intertwined with traditional approaches. A broad, decorative stroke, the play of chiaroscuro, the mingling half-tones are all there.

Mykyta is a follower of Erdeli, Bokshai, and Ernest Kontratovych. At the same time he was able to find his own unique artistic personality, his individual style. His artistic ego is characterized by the versatility of approaches and stylistic experiments, ranging from three-dimensional realism to organic traditional primitivism to impressionism, and even avant-garde. All his works are permeated with sincere concern about the fate of Ukraine. His civic and artistic stands are remarkable for their sincerity of emotion, love of freedom, and uncompromising sturdiness.

Mykyta made his Uzhhorod studio into a musem – the first of its kind where, like in a traditional Hu-tsul home, everything brings to mind the everyday life of Carpathian highlanders, and where next to household things the artist’s canvases can breathe freely, they look so organic among all those rugs, bedspreads, and embroidery.

“I opened this museum without any help from the government. Sadly, Uzhhorod still doesn’t have mu­seums of my talented teachers, Erdeli and Bokshai. But is Uzhhorod alone? The world-famous artist like Tetiana Yablonska was never honored with a museum of her art. That is why I decided to open a little museum on my own. It is not an official institution, it doesn’t have its own staff, but I am happy to welcome all my guests, and my studio is a stone’s throw from here. The exposition includes 88 pieces, from my first works to the most recent,” shared Volodymyr Mykyta.

Over the recent years, the artist has been creating a unique world in portrait painting. He has taken part in numerous exhibits and biennale, both at home and abroad. However, it is difficult to associate Mykyta with “ripe old age.” This cheerful, life-loving man strikes you with the originality of ideas and youthful optimism. The beauty of movement, posture, and something else, barely perceptible, radiates from this wonderful artist – something young painters should look up to.