Virgin Mary with a Child

Mykhailo Boichuk

  • Virgin Mary with a Child 2
  • Virgin Mary with a Child 3
Basic information
Mykhailo Boichuk
Virgin Mary with a Child
Date of creation
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
40 x 31.5
Information about author
Mykhailo Boichuk
Artist's lifetime
Mykhailo Boichuk was a Ukrainian muralist and representative of the Ukrainian cultural Renaissance of the early twentieth century. He was the founder of Boichukism, the original school of Ukrainian art, and leader of the group of Boichukists. His name is given to an artistic phenomenon that combined the forms of folk art and the heritage of Byzantium and Proto-Renaissance. The French called it Renovation Byzantine (Neo-Byzantism). In 1913, he became a member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, and in 1917 – of the Ukrainian Scientific Society. Mykhailo Boichuk was born on October 30, 1882, in the village of Romanivka, near Terebovlia. He received an excellent artistic education thanks to the support of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. The painter studied in Lviv, Vienna, Krakow, and later in Munich and Paris. In 1909, he founded his own school where Mykola Kasperovych, Zofia Nalepinska, Zofia Baudouin de Courtenay, Helena Schramm and others studied. In 1911, he returned to Lviv where he worked as a fine art restorer and muralist at the National Museum (now the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv). In 1917, he became one of the founding professors of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts where he headed the icon and fresco studio. In 1925, Mykhailo was one of the organizers of the Association of Revolutionary Art of Ukraine. The most significant works made together with students were paintings on modern themes in the Lutsk barracks in Kyiv in 1919, Sanatorium for Peasants on the coast of the Khadzhibey Estuary in Odesa between 1927 and 1928, and the Chervonozavodskyi Theater in Kharkiv between 1933 and 1935. All monumental paintings have not survived. On November 25, 1936, Mykhailo Boichuk was arrested and charged with Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism as well as being a leader of a national-fascist terrorist organization. The artist was shot, and most of his works were destroyed.
Object description
On one side of the small sheet, there is an oil sketch of a bust-length image of the Virgin Mary with a child in the classical icon-painting style. It takes up most of the composition. The background behind the figures is of gray color. The faces and hands of the characters are unusually dark brown and undetailed; the facial features and fingers are barely outlined. The baby's hand touches the mother. The woman is dressed in red clothes and a blue veil; on the veil near her right shoulder, there is a pentagonal light ocher star. The child's clothes are light pink. The dark hand with which the mother supports the child stands out against the background of the clothes. The figures have different halos. The Virgin Mary's halo is bluish-white with an ocher stripe along the contour and the same transverse stripes. The child's halo is of dark yellow color. The halos are highlighted by a dark green stripe on the outer edge. The lines are concise and accurate, but at the same time they retain their smoothness and give the composition roundness and calm. The other side of the sheet shows a completely different scene. There are four female figures dressed in white shirts around a tall tree. One of them, dressed in a red skirt and a headscarf, is placed with her back to the viewer. She sits with her left hand on her thigh. The second figure is dressed in a green skirt, a red apron, and a headscarf. The woman stands to the left of the tree and faces the viewer on the right side. She leans to the ground and extends her right hand forward. The third figure, dressed in a white skirt, a purple apron, and a green headscarf, is depicted to the right of the tree, with her hands raised. The fourth woman stands to the left of the tree and faces the viewer on the right side. She is straight-haired, in a green skirt and a light apron; her head is tilted forward. In the background, there are also two other trees and a river; on the opposite bank, brightly lit by the sun, the white houses can be seen.