Art in Ukraine / Искусство в Украине

Over the centuries Ukrainian people have developed their own arts of music, theatre, and painting. Some Ukrainian artists and their masterpieces are famous not only in Ukraine but also all over the world.

Ukrainian music has a long history. Folk traditions have preserved to this day original songs, lyrical, humorous, and patriotic and others. «Kobza», «bandura», «sopilka» are among most famous national musical instruments. «Kobza» is a unique musical instrument. The one who plays it is called «kobzar». One of the most famous kobzars was Hnat Honcharenko. Blind from childhood, he learned to play kobza at 20—22 and wandered singing and playing dumas, psalms, and humorous songs and teaching other kobzars. He spent the last part of his life mostly in Sevastopol. In 1908 Lesia Ukrainka took Honcharenko to Yalta and, with her husband K.Kvitka recorded his dumas. Speaking about Ukrainian composers, we must mention I. Stravinsky and S. Prokofiev, who were born in Ukraine. M. Lysenko, a pianist, composer, conductor and folklorist was an important figure of the Ukrainian musical renaissance. Among his operas there are the well-known «Taras Bulba» and «Natalka Poltavka».

In Ukraine the oldest surviving paintings are frescoes found on the northern Black Sea coast. Famous frescoes of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev and of the Armenian Cathedral in Lvov are one of the oldest and attract many tourists from Ukraine and abroad. After the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg was established, many talented painters moved to Russia. This emigration deprived Ukrainian painting of its most creative talents. But there were several exceptions that devoted most of their painting to Ukrainian interests. Among such painters was T. Shevchenko, who is considered the father of modern Ukrainian painting. One more famous representative of the Ukrainian art was Ilia Repin. He was an outstanding painter, full member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Many of his works show Ukraine, its people and its history. Among them there are the most famous painting "The Zhaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan", "Evening Party", "Haidamakys", "Cossack in the Steppe", and "Hopak". He also painted many portraits of Russian and Ukrainian cultural figures. Among them were M. Kostomarov, I. Kramskoi, T. Shevchenko and others.

The history of Ukrainian theatre also goes back to the ancient times. We may find their traces in pre-Christian traditions and rituals. They are evident even today in the summer Kupalo festival, the winter carols and above all in the ceremony of the Ukrainian wedding. The further development of Ukrainian theatre was influenced by European medieval theatre traditions. The first Ukrainian language plays of I. Kotliarevsky and H. Kvitka-Osnovianenko were staged by Poltava Free Theatre in 1819. Many Ukrainian landlords organized serf theatres at their estates. In their theatres Ukrainian plays were performed. In Russian-ruled Ukraine many amateur and touring theatre groups were active. The leaders in organizing them were M. Starytsky and I. Karpenko-Kary. The first professional Ukrainian theatre was a touring troupe in Austrian-ruled Galicia and Bukovina. It was directed by O. Bachynsky. The times of the Soviet rule were not easy for Ukrainian theatre. Over the past few years the Ukrainian theatre is on the wave of national revival. Many youth theatres, musical comedies and theatre stars have appeared.


a masterpiece — шедевр

folk — народ

conductor — дирижер

a carol — веселая песенка, колядка

revival — возрождение