Ukrainian Medieval Painting, 1976, by Hryhory Lohvyn, Lada Milyaeva and Vira Sventsitska, hardcover with dust jacket, published by “Art” Publisher, Kiev.
The photographs in thiss listing include the cover of the book with a insert showing the title page, the dust jacket showing the front and back covers, as welll as several images from the book.
This book includes -----
An introductory statement in Ukrainian (17 pages)
A summary in Russian (one page)
A summary in English (One page)
Old Rus Painting of the 11th to 13th Century, a total of 15 illustrations
Ukrainian Painting of the 14th to 16th century, for a total of 94 illustrations
All of the illustrations are in full color, one illustration to a page except for a select few that are close to two pages in width as a folded page in the book.
The illustration are well presented on pages of size 9 ½ inches x 13 ¼ inches
The English summary from the book is as follows ----
In world art, the medieval painting of Ukraine, as well as that of Russia and Byelorussia, is a unique branch of the Byzantine style with which the origins of Old Rus art were very closely linked. For many centuries the art of Old Rus determined the content, form and stylistic features of every kind of Ukrainian painting, including the icon paintings presented in this publication.
The reproductions of fourteenth to sixteenth century Ukrainian painting found in this album are, therefore, preceded by plates of widely-known masterpieces of Old Rus art dating back to the eleventh, the twelfth and the thirteenth century, masterpieces which are part of the art treasury of that age. Noted for the strikingly individual styles of the masters who painted them, these works are above all unified by a highly professional standard, an epic strength that permeates the images, a monumental approach to form, and by colour that is superbly beautiful. Created in different towns and principalities over an extensive period of several centuries, they definitely indicate that Old Rus art, though it gave rise to and developed local schools, did not lose its common features and similarities of style. It passed through synchronic and analogous stages of evolution everywhere in Old Rus, so that there is every foundation to consider it the basic source for the art of three fraternal peoples - the Russian, the Ukrainian and the Byelorussian.
A terrible loss was inflicted on the brilliant and spreading culture of Old Rus by the Mongol-Tartar invasion, which was followed by a new stage in the art of the Eastern Slav peoples. This was linked with the rise of the artisan and merchant upper classes and the penetration of the people's aesthetic standards into art, with the increased interest in man's personality as embodied in the images of saints, and also in the use of folklore elements in portraying scenes from their lives. Art appealed to the feelings of the masses, cultivating an intelligible and laconic language of art. Icon painting - called upon to satisfy the personal demands of the clients who commissioned them - gave preference to images that were warm with sincere and human feeling. By the latter half of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century, the paintings all had one feature at least in common: a specific desire to transfer the earlier indistinct features of the traditional saint into a human image, and to reflect in the icon the dramatic character of the times.
Only a few paintings of this period remain extant. Naturally, therefore, it is impossible to provide a fully detailed and rich picture of its world of art. However, a variety of different trends may be felt in the paintings found in Kiev, Galicia and Volhynia which permit one to sense the new spirit which permeated art in the post-Mongol era.
The latter half of the fourteenth century was probably the severest period of ordeal in the history of the Ukrainian people. The Ukrainian lands became the prey of neighbouring feudal states, which led to even greater social and national oppression. Under such conditions, the preservation of traditions became a matter of special importance. In art, one might observe the desire, on the one hand, to retain the elevated language of past centuries with its lapidary style and decorative force, and on the other to change the forms under the influence of the people's ideas of what was beautiful.
Icon painting in the fifteenth century with its greater elements of folk character was stipulated as by the tastes of the patrons who commissioned the work, and these belonged to the town trading circles, then the ranks of the master-painters were filled out by many artists from the outlying district. Though the latter were not particularly noted for their high professional training, they nevertheless reacted very sensitively to life demands. It is thanks to their contribution that art was enriched with an acuity, a spontaneous liveliness, sincerity, and sometimes a charming naivety which attracted the viewer and caught his imagination.
In several paintings belonging to the fourteenth or fifteenth century, one can unquestionably detect techniques having much in common with monumental art, and this may be explained by the fact that the teaching of art was of a universal character: one and the same master was capable of handling all kinds of painting, including frescoes, icons, miniature illuminations for books. And if highly professional works had harmonious images that were sometimes in accord with those of the Moscow school of Andrei Rublev, then one could say that icons made by folk masters seemed to repeat the Novgorod manner.
As to the bonds linking Ukrainian painting with West European art of the fifteenth century, these are indicated by traces of the Gothic style, now noticeable in the broken or sweeping folds of the drapery, and now in the drawing of an inscription, or in attributes of weaponry, clothing and even the character of a personage.
The iconostasis exerted a considerable influence upon icon painting determining both the composition and the decorative principles involved in the work.
Ukrainian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is mainly preserved in the icons of Galicia, and occasionally of Volhynia. In Galician painting, one might to some extent pick out works that are linked with artistic centres in Lviv and Peremyshl. A large number of local studios, and the contacts existing between artists, due to the closeness of the locality force us to use extreme care in defining specific schools. It is usually easier to recognize a workshop or circle rather than a particular master. But nevertheless the general impression is that Peremyshl played the leading role in the fifteenth century, and Lviv in the sixteenth.
The architectural features and folklore elements noted in the fifteenth century which appeared in accentuated and definite situations were later more widely developed in the art of the sixteenth century. This was due to the changes introduced in the colours employed and in the treatment of form which made the painting less flat or two-dimensional, far more detailed and three-dimensional; the typical figures were depicted with a lighter grace, their gestures were more expressive and the dynamics of their movements more pronounced. Among the range of new topics, all the more popular became the people's favourite St. George as warrior or dragon-fighter; also the charitable healers, and saints as patrons of trade and commerce. The stylistic evolution in painting was a direct result of a sharpening of the social struggle of the Ukrainian people against oppression by the Polish feudal gentry. The anti-feudal trend in art appeared with special verve in the icons depicting the Last Judgement, now given a vividly satirical colouring. One may observe an interest in man's fate, a recognition of its importance in the ethical sense which was affirmed in poetry, song and the ballad, in the apocrypha as well as in painting - the latter began to introduce a dramatic trend in genre scenes which conveyed sympathy for the mocked and the deprived.
In connection with the appearance of carving on the framework of the iconostasis, and the desire to unify it with the icons into a single decorative entity, the master-craftsman began to ornament first the halos, then the borders of the framework and lastly the background. The ornamental motifs repeat the decorative folk patterns found in hand-made fabrics, and also the delicate works of the jeweller's art or that of the metal-smiths (covers for the Gospels, openwork covers for icons, metal applications for doors, etc.).
]n the sixteenth century there gradually appeared a tendency towards a realistic representation of the surrounding world. The narrative approach grew stronger in such popular icons as "The Passion" and "The Last Judgement", and the detailed episodes from the hagiographical stories of the saints were the usual accompaniment to the icon along its borders.
Such icons with many episodes were beloved by the people; they were often commissioned, for they were more like a unique collection of interesting and profoundly clever stories having a wide range of shades of thought running from the satyrical to the lyrical, or else brimming with tragedy. In many works, all the more attention was paid to depicting an architectural or definite landscape with fir or spruce trees, sheep and other domestic animals. Similar works were permeated with a lyrical folklore comprehension of the world and unique interpretation of decorativeness.
Under the influence of Renaissance art, the image of man in painting began to change. The master-painters became aware of the rhythmic forms of anatomy, the laws of perspective - both linear and aerial - which deprived icon painting of its symbolic or abstract character. As in earlier centuries, the professional circles of artists, like those set up at the end of the sixteenth century in the Lviv studio, and the naive craftsman-painter continued to exist side by side and to enrich each other. However, the naive craftsman showed more daring, if unskilled, techniques with more of an inclination to improvise, and thus his works were especially gifted in the lyrical and decorative sense. Folk artists were the first to depict the negative side of personages, which they did very acutely and often with social accents and characteristics.
The transition from the traditional canonical techniques in icon painting to the realistic, occuring about the close of the sixteenth century, marked the beginning of the end for any further evolution in Ukrainian medieval art.
This book is in a good condition with edge wear to the cover primarily at the corners, with an inscription on the first page in the book and with no other writing or marks in the book. The dust jacket is very rough with numerous tears and small missing pieces, along the upper and lower edges.
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