Famous artists of Kiev

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910) – an outstanding Russian artist. A considerable period of creative activity Vrubel is connected with Kiev. Today his works are adorned with such architectural monuments as the Vladimir Cathedral and the Church of St. Cyril. So in the 1880s the artist was invited to Kiev to create the Byzantine iconostasis and restoration of the frescoes of the 12th century Church of St. Cyril. Among the oil paintings made during the restoration of the frescoes of the temple, the Virgin created by the Vrubel brush is compared with the Sistine Madonna. Also for the church he painted the fresco “The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles”.

At the end of 1885 Vrubel was working on sketches for the painting of the Cathedral of Vladimir, on which ornaments were painted on the inner walls of the church and the arches of the two naves. Today the main value of the Cathedral of Vladimir is the unique paintings, thanks to which the church received the status of a cultural monument. Among the works of the Kiev period, the outstanding work was “The Portrait of a Girl Against the Persian Carpet”, where Vrubel showed his coloristic abilities. In Kiev the artist also wrote pictures of the “Oriental Tale”, “Self-portrait”, “Gravestone”, etc. Works of the master are kept in the National Museum “Kiev Picture Gallery” (Tereshchenkivska Str., 9).

Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) – Soviet avant-garde artist, author of the world famous painting “Black Square”. Malevich was not only born in Kiev, but also spent part of his life here, having received the basics of artistic mastery. In 1895-1897 he was trained by the artist N. Pimonenko in the Kiev Art School. In 1927-1930 he worked at the Kiev Art Institute, where he teached and acquainted with such famous artists as M.Boichuk, V.Meller, A.Bogomazov and others. During the time of work at the Institute Malevich painted the paintings of “Bathing Ponds” and “Winter Landscape”, a solo exhibition, published articles on innovation in art in the Kiev magazine “Almanac-avant-garde.” Repression against the intelligentsia forced the artist to leave Kiev. Unfortunately in Ukraine not a single work of Malevich has survived. In Kiev the honor of an outstanding artist named the street, on which he was born.

Alexandr Bogomazov (1880-1930) – Ukrainian artist, one of the leading representatives of the world’s avant-garde. He entered the history of Ukrainian art as one of the founders of national cube-faturism, having received the nickname “Ukrainian Picasso”. The connection between Bogomazov and Kiev begins with his arrival in 1902 in the Kiev Art College. Since 1911 he has been working in various periodicals, teaches at the deaf-mute school, organizes a circle of representatives of the Kubo-Futurist movement. In 1920s he read artistic disciplines at the Kiev Art Institute. In 1922 he was elected professor of easel painting. In 1930 he died of tuberculosis in Kiev.

He was buried at the Lukyanivska cemetery. Immediately after his death Bogomazov was struck out of the history of Soviet art. Only in the 1960s in the period of the so-called “thaw” the creative legacy of an outstanding avant-gardist was again discovered by a group of Kiev art critics. Among the world-famous works of Bogomazov – “Tramway”, “Self-portrait”, “Loggers”, “Tyrsonos”, “Edit Saw.” The latter is located in the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Hrushevskoho Str., 6). On the facade of building № 18 along the Ascension descent, a memorial plaque in honor of the artist was erected, where Alexandr Bogomazov lived and worked in 1914-1930.

Ivan Kavaleridze (1887-1978) – Ukrainian sculptor, director, playwright and theatrical figure. Despite the oppression on the part of the Soviet authorities, Kavaleridze’s work takes place in the history of Kiev. So the monument to Princess Olga, installed on Mikhailovskaya Square according to the project of the sculptor, today is the visiting card of the city. Among his works there are many monuments that have decorated not only Kiev but also Romny, Poltava, Chernihiv. Known Kavaleridze and as a talented director-playwright. Working at the Dovzhenko film studio he put films that carry the Ukrainian spirit – “Kolyivshchina”, “Prometheus”, “Grigory Skovoroda”.

He was buried at Baykovoye cemetery. The museum-workshop of I. Kavaleridze locate in the building, where the sculptor worked on the project of the monument to Princess Olga in 1911 (Andriivsky Descent, 21). Among the expositions are the master’s projects, the originals of his easel sculptures, photographs, scripts manuscripts and video cassettes of Kavaleridze. The main exhibits are models to the monuments of Princess Olga, G. Skovoroda and Yaroslav the Wise, established in Kiev. On Velyka Vasylkivska Str., 16 a memorial plaque is installed, where sculptor lived in 1954-1978.

Nikolay Pimonenko (1862-1912) – Ukrainian artist, who made a significant contribution to the creation of a national school of realistic art. Thanks to his outstanding abilities, he was admitted to the Kiev Drawing School for free and was known as one of his best students. From 1900 until the end of his life he taught at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. In 1890’s he took part in the paintings of the Vladimir Cathedral, performing the images of St. Anna and Nikolai Mirlkiy, for which he received the Order of St. Anne of the III degree.

He was a member of the Society of Munich Artists and the Paris International Union of Arts and Literature. The creative heritage of Nikolai Pimonenko includes several hundred completed works. Among the famous paintings – “Christmas fortune telling”, “Hopak” (located in the Louvre), “Passionate Thursday” (in the museum of Munich), “The victim of fanaticism.” A number of canvases can be seen in the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Hrushevskoho Str., 6). He was buried at the Lukyanivska cemetery. On Gogolevska str., 28 a memorial plaque was installed, where the artist lived and worked in 1883-1912. One of the streets of Kiev is named after Nikolai Pimonenko.

Alexandr Archipenko (1887-1964) – Ukrainian sculptor of world renown, one of the founders of Cubism in sculpture. He was born in Kiev. Since 1902 he studied at the Kiev Art College with A. Bogomazov, with whom opened the first exhibition of their works in 1906. In 1908 he left for Europe and in 1923 moved to the United States and remained there until the end of his life. Creativity of Alexandr Archipenko had a great influence on the development of modern art, turning the world view of the sculpture of the early XX century. Today the works of Archipenko are presented in many museums around the world, including the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Hrushevskogo Str., 6). The most famous sculptures – “Woman combs her hair”, “Gondolier”, “Boxers”, “Carousel Pierrot”. The sculpture “The Return of Arkhipenko” is installed on the honor of the famous sculptor (Pushkinska str., 42/4).

Elio Sala (1864-1920) – Italian sculptor, from the late 1890’s until 1914 he worked in Kiev and taught at the city’s art school. Works of the master of decorative sculpture adorned the facades of many buildings, among which almost all are monuments of architecture of national importance. Elio’s first work in Kiev was connected with decorating the building of the Museum of Fine Arts (today the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Hrushevskoho Str., 6). The statues of lions and the high-relief pediment “The Triumph of Art” were executed by him. Settled for a while in the capital, Sala teaches at an art school and opens her own studio. After acquainting himself with the famous Kiev architect Horodetsky, Elio Sala starts collaborating with him, becoming a co-author of many works – the Nikolayevsky church (Velyka Vasylkivska str., 77), the Karaite kenasa (Yaroslaviv Val str., 7), House with chimeras (Bankova Str., 10), etc. Among the master’s works are also the decor of the buildings of the National Bank of Ukraine, the National Opera of Ukraine, the main building of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute.