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Wood carving in Ukraine
Wood carving in Ukraine has become one of the most exquisite and
perfect forms of artistic wood working.
Judging from several preserved items, some purely folk motives
could be observed even in woodcarving of the Princely period. After a
long period of stagnation during the time of Tatar invasion a new
upraise of that art started from the XVI century. During the golden age
of the Cossack State in the XVII – XVIII century folk woodcarving in
Ukraine reached its peak. HYPERLINK
“_blank” Door casings , HYPERLINK
“_blank” door jabs , HYPERLINK
“_blank” eaves of wooden buildings HYPERLINK
“_blank” wooden household articles , furniture and house outfit,
“_blank” chests , HYPERLINK
“_blank” wooden utensils , implements, HYPERLINK
“_blank” weapons and military equipment were decorated with
woodcarving. Woodcarving of church HYPERLINK
“_blank” iconostases and other items of religious use achieved
extremely gorgeous decorative perfection. The basis of those
polychromatic or gilded carvings made in the Baroque style was a
succulent and intricate HYPERLINK
“_blank” floral ornament , which consisted of skillfully stylized folk
“_blank” vine , sunflowers, mallows, roses etc. those compositions
perfectly matched architectural elements of iconostases, which usually
were many-tiered. Those artistically and technically brilliant
woodcarvings acquired even more grandiosity and portliness in the period
of Rococo. The Baroque and Rococo ornamental forms and motives very
often were combined with figures of saints, angels, etc.
The period of classicism and Empire style did not displace the Baroque
and Rococo motives, but gave the carving more concentration and calm.
Hand and altar HYPERLINK
“_blank” crosses , HYPERLINK
“_blank” pateras , candlesticks, church-chandeliers, lecterns, kiots,
grave and roadside crosses etc. are very interesting examples of folk
Unfortunately, in Soviet Ukraine the greater part of those brilliant
examples of folk woodcarving of a world significance were plundered and
destroyed by Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920th-30th and for that reason
it exists only in fragments, in descriptions and photographs.
Till the middle of the XIX century woodcarving achieved a high level of
development in all Ukrainian lands, especially in Poltavshchyna.
Ornament peculiarities show that in Galychyna and Volyn there was an
inclination to geometrical forms, and in central Ukraine and in the
western Ukrainian lands – to floral ornament.
Gutsul carving is an interesting phenomenon of Ukrainian folk
woodcarving; the middle of the XIX – beginning of the XX century was the
peak of its development. Its oldest examples date from the XVII century
onward. That was quite primitive carved icons – “obrazy”, or sacred
images. But as far back as at the beginning of the XIX century articles
of Gutsul woodcarving, which showed quick tempo of development, became
similar to analogous examples from Podniprov’ya. Gutsul-made articles of
that period included all types of household articles, and especially –
religious articles. In the latter group especially remarkable are hand
altar crosses with a strict form construction and thorough execution.
Traditionally the Gutsuls embellished such articles as topirets’
(walking stick/hatchet), pistols, fire steels, powder-flasks and
barrels. Till the middle of the XIX century the simplest tools were used
for that purpose – a knife, an awl, nails. But with the introduction by
Yura Shkryblyak (1823 – 1885) of turning technique the artistic and
technical perfection of articles was considerably increased. That
craftsman in his work used hardened chisels that he made himself. In
addition to traditional motives (“ryesky”, “kryvulky”, “ruzhya” (guns),
“kucheri” (curls), “slyvky” (plums), “kolosky” (ears), “rozklyny”,
“khreshchyky”), which were very close to geometrical type of ancient
pysankas (painted Easter eggs) embellishments, he was the first to use a
new type of embellishment – encrustation with darts, metal plates,
“patsyorkas” (colored glass beads). Then the sons of Y. Shkryblyak
improved the encrustation and intarsia significantly, reaching the acme
of skill. in the XX century “patsyorkuvanya” (bead encrustation) also
became widely spread, which Gutsul craftsmen brought to perfection. Folk
woodcarvings from Gutsulshchyna were the highest achievement of the
Ukrainians in this branch of decorative and applied art.
In the XX century folk woodcarving experienced two big periods of
upraising and revival of interest towards it – in the 1920th – beginning
of the 1930th and in the 1960th – 1970th. Now the most popular are
wood-carved articles from the Carpathian region and from regions of
Gold-Weaving in Galicia from the 18th to the first third of the
20th centuries: History, Typology, and Characteristics of Art and Style.
Dissertation as a fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Candidate of Art History with the specialization 17.00.06, Decorative
and Applied Art. L’viv Academy of Arts, L’viv 2003.
The dissertation analyzes gold weaving in Galicia from the 18th to
the first third of the 20th centuries. Gold weaving of this region and
time period constitutes an original phenomenon of national culture and
art; one which heretofore has not been studied in great detail. The
study incorporates a historical analysis of gold weaving in Ukraine,
beginning with the state of Old Rus’. It delineates historical and
cultural factors, which have contributed to the flourishing of
gold-weaving industry on the territory of Galicia in the 18th century.
In addition, the study describes in detail the main centres and
workshops of gold-woven products. The preserved artistic objects,
analyzed in the present study, were consulted in several museum
collections in both Ukraine and Poland. These objects are analyzed from
a typological perspective of gold weaving, including their purpose and
types of decorative ornamentation. With respect to the characteristics
of art and style, these objects are discussed in the context of European
art styles. Moreover, the study includes a quantitative analysis of the
predominant types of gold-weavings. The investigation of gold-weaving
samples of the second half of the 18th century evinces certain
peculiarities, characteristic specifically of gold weaving of Galicia.
In particular, whereas prior to the middle of the 18th century, in
Galicia, stylistic elements of the local transformations of patterns of
Oriental (Muslim) origin were predominant in the ornamentation of
gold-woven objects, in the second half of the 18th century, in the dйcor
of fashion fabric, gold-woven belts and macats, it is possible to define
stylistic peculiarities of European art styles such as baroque and
rococo with an incorporation of national art traditions.
The characteristics of art and style of the typological groups of
gold-weavings, which were produced in the workshops of Galicia in the
18th century, differed considerably from others. Specifically, in the
ornamentation of decorative fabric, i.e. gold-woven macats,
characteristics of Western-European styles of baroque and rococo
dominated. However, arrays of fashion fabric, including the gold-woven
belts, are delineated by the considerable influence of Muslim
stylistics, particularly in the role played by Persian and Turkish art.
Traces of traditional, national art are most vividly seen in the
character of dйcor of gold-weavings, which were produced in small,
provincial textile centres.
al analysis of decorative gold-woven macats of Buchach. Importantly, the
dissertation discusses the influence of gold weaving on the traditional
fabrics of the Carpathian region. Last but not least, the study provides
perspectives as to how the heritage of gold weaving of Galicia could be
applied in contemporary textile.
The main finding of this dissertation is the fact that in Galicia,
although traditions of gold weaving have not had a smooth line of
historical development, nevertheless, gold weaving as a phenomenon needs
to be viewed as a valuable and inalienable part of Ukrainian decorative
and applied art. Importantly, the elements of art and style of
gold-weavings produced in the workshops of Galicia, with their unique
combination of Oriental primary sources, European influences of style,
and traditions of Ukrainian art are characterized national originality.
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