Girl near the Tree

Mykhailo Boichuk

  • Girl near the Tree 2
  • Girl near the Tree 3
Basic information
Mykhailo Boichuk
Girl near the Tree
Date of creation
cardboard gouache
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
25.5 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
A girl is depicted in profile. Exactly half of the picture is taken up by the figure of the girl on the left; she is depicted in gray clothes, a purple headscarf on a golden brown background. The right half of the picture is taken up by harmoniously combined contrasting colors, namely orange, yellow, purple violet, blue green, chocolate brown, aquamarine, and black ones painted in strokes. The girl's forehead is thoughtfully bowed; her gaze is directed somewhere down, while her hands are raised in a gesture of touch, that is, depicted in motion. These color strokes may symbolize the stained glass that the girl wants to touch. The strokes depicting the figure are clear, straight, or slightly rounded; the shapes tend to geometry. The whole drawing of the portrait indicates that the monumental style appeals to the artist. The girl's face resembles the faces of saints of the Byzantine tradition. This impression is intensified by the fact that the face is depicted in profile, the same as the face of a praying woman, and has the color of an old coin (a rare shade of dirty yellow), which indicates the girl’s remoteness from earthly life.