Yaroslavna's Lament (a sketch)

Mykhailo Boichuk

  • Yaroslavna's Lament (a sketch) 2
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Basic information
Mykhailo Boichuk
Yaroslavna's Lament (a sketch)
Date of creation
oil painting
cardboard oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
40 x 34
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
This work depicts three female figures, the construction of their bodies is concise and stylized. The central figure is a young woman in a golden crown. She is sitting on the throne; her head is tilted to the left; her body is turned in the same direction, and only her arms are directed to the right. The central female figure is executed on the principle of the S-shaped line. A long dress tied under her breast is painted in cool green and yellow colors. On both sides of the princess there are two women, apparently maids. The left figure is shown in profile, standing barefoot on a small chair. Her hands are raised in a sympathetic gesture and almost touch either the cheeks of the crowned person or her yellow hair. The girl is dressed in a light shirt, a green and yellow skirt, and a red apron with horizontal stripes. On the right there is the second girl, who is barefoot and dressed in blue and white clothes. She holds a jug and a wineglass at the breast level. The floor is red and brown. Under the feet of a sitting woman there is a podium, which is hot yellow in color with red striped walls. The background of the work is light blue. There is a blue semicircle above the depicted figures. Between the heads of the central figure and the maid standing on the right there is an inscription "ПЛАЧ ЯРОСЛАВНИ" made in gold. All paints are very clean; elsewhere they are almost transparent. The lines of construction are clear and accurate. At the same time they retain their smoothness and give the whole composition roundness. In general, Mykhailo Boichuk paid great attention to the line and its capacity, because in each work he sought to achieve completeness of content, using the most concise means and forms. Most of Boichuk's works were destroyed after his execution by the Soviet authorities in 1937. However, some of Mykhailo Boichuk's works have been preserved thanks to the Lviv artist Yaroslava Muzyka, who, since 1914 when Mykhailo Boichuk was forced to leave Lviv with no opportunity to take his paintings with himself, had in keeping the artist's works and his small but significant archive. The Yaroslava Muzyka Fund is housed in the Lviv National Art Gallery. Presumably, the works we see now are only drafts and sketches for greater compositions.