Women in Ukrainian Art
Learn more about famous Ukrainian artists such as Maria Prymachenko, Kateryna Bilokur, Yelyzaveta Myronova, and Marfa Tymchenko.
Maria Prymachenko (1909–1997)An inspiration for Picasso and Chagall, her works are now an international symbol of the call for peace. A self-taught artist born to humble means, Maria Prymachenko earned fame in her lifetime for dazzlingly colorful and wildly inventive scenes of animals - lions, birds, horses, and other beasts - covered in riotously hued, almost psychedelic patterns.
She might just be Ukraine’s most beloved artist; her likeness has appeared on stamps and even the country’s coinage. Prymachenko certainly classifies as an artist in the naive style - but that is not to say that her works aren’t informed by deep knowledge of a rich cultural tradition.
Kateryna Bilokur (1900-1961)Self-taught master of primitive art and decorative folk painting, Bilokur painted flowers and fruits in gardens, orchards, and fields; still lifes; and several portraits and self-portraits. The majority of her creations feature extremely vivid, vibrant and colorful floral scenes displaying lush collections of flowers and fruits in natural settings.
In 1954 three paintings by Bilokur were exhibited at an international exhibition in Paris where, among others, they were highly praised by Pablo Picasso. It is about Bilokur, that Picasso said: "If we had an artist of this level of skill, we would make the whole world talk about her."
Marfa Tymchenko (1922-2009)
Master of the so-called “Petrykivka painting”, Marfa Tymchenko studied at the Petrykivka School of Decorative Painting under Tetiana Pata and at the Kyiv School of Folk-Art Masters, worked at the Kyiv Experimental Plant of Artistic Ceramics, where she decorated clay, porcelain, and wooden tableware, vases, and other objects. She has also designed fabric, posters, books, and murals (e.g.: in the Kazka toy store in the city of Kyiv, together with her husband Skytsiuk).
Yelyzaveta Myronova (1929-2010)As a girl she was inspired by her mother’s talent of retelling legendary stories, and she then dreamt to put them on paper by means of her own talent. Like every Ukrainian country girl Myronova learned to embroider and to decorate cottage walls for holidays. However, after she moved to Kyiv, her approach changed. She painted mostly in gouache on paper or cardboard.
Despite the folklore mentality which it expressed, her work, like that of many similar artists, was distinct from traditional popular art since it contains an element of urban culture. Her compositional arrangements were often symmetrical, with horses or birds ranged along the sides of a tree, reminiscent of old icon composition of canonical embroidery. Not infrequently she added inscriptions associated with Ukrainian folklore and ballads.