Male Portrait

Mykhailo Boichuk

  • Male Portrait 2
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Basic information
Mykhailo Boichuk
Male Portrait
Date of creation
paper watercolor Indian ink pencil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
37.5 x 30.5
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
This is a full face portrait of a young man. As a rule, significant and solemn characters are portrayed in this way; their lives are concentrated in the gaze directed at the viewer. The look of the portrayed man is open and gentle. There is something timeless in this portrait. The composition is made in two dimensions that have nothing to do with the material world; the combination of terracotta, blue, and yellow colors refers to traditional Proto-Renaissance images. Boichuk never aimed to show pure abstraction in his works; he stopped working on the painting at the generalization stage. According to the artist, the generalization should give the viewer a sense of truth immortalized in the painting. In 1973, this unique exhibit item got into the collection of Lviv National Art Gallery from the private collection of Yaroslava Muzyka, who closely worked with Boichuk and his followers during the Lviv period of the artist's life. Yaroslava Muzyka lived in a house on Charnetskyi Street (now Vynnychenko Street, 26), where Boichuk's studio was located; she managed to preserve a significant amount of archival material and some works that remained after the artist’s moving to Kyiv.