The study, preservation and propagation of traditional folk culture are now one of the top-priority tasks for most countries of European traditional culture. This task is especially urgent for peoples of the countries, where on the verge of the third millennium the traditional culture is not only a historical fact but also the living reality. Ukraine is one of such countries.
The Ukrainian people in the course of centuries-old history created distinctive, artistically unique national art in which their social and aesthetic ideals, patriotism and humanism were reflected. The fine arts were originated on the territory of modern Ukraine as far back as the period of primitive communal system. Formation of Kyiv Rus and the adoption of Christianity promoted the development of culture and of the fine arts in Rus. Together with architecture, the monumental painting achieved a high level of development (i.e., mosaics and frescoes of cathedrals, monasteries and churches throughout Ukraine). Icon painting became the art of broad generalization. In the 16th century, new genres of painting were originated (battle scenes, historical events, portraits and landscapes). The beginning of book printing in Ukraine led to rapid development of the art of engraving.
Distinctive original features are already seen in monumental art of ancient Ukrainian churches. Those traditions of monumental wall painting developed during the next centuries. Churches - stone and wooden - with wall paintings “survived” till the present time. Folk craftsmen, most often anonymous, were the authors of church paintings and icons, iconostases in particular. In their works - icons and big monumental compositions - they reflected realities of life, reproduced peculiarities of world outlook, tastes and thoughts of their environment.
development of professional, as well as folk painting in the XVI century
resulted in establishment of recognizable and original stylistics and
visualization of that art. Within the boundaries of Icon painting folk
artists tried to reproduce their own perception of image of the ordinary
man - their contemporary, his feelings, aspirations, tried to reflect
colourful national types. Within the limits of religious theme everyday
and social motives showed up.
Clean, colored or painted egg became the mythic and poetical as well as
religious and ritual symbol even in the most ancient civilizations
existing on the Earth (universal or cosmic egg). In myths of different
peoples it is the image, from which the entire universe arises, a
certain divinity, human race, and also it symbolizes the sun, the
warmth, the life, the creator-demiurge. Many peoples connect with the
egg not only creation or birth of the world on the Earth, but the time
structure on the whole. These cosmological functions of the egg symbol
also correspond to its important role in rituals of fertility, revival,
awakening for the new life.
Folk art… embroidery, Easter eggs painting, weaving, woodcarving, ceramics, wooden architecture, decorative paintings, Icon painting, decorating clothes and household objects…
According to ethnographers' theory craving for folk crafts is programmed at genetic level. The story of one successful businessman proves this. He constantly attended all the exhibitions where the ceramic products were presented. «I can't understand why but I can look at these lacquered plates, pots, spoons», businessman said. Soon everything cleared up. He learnt that his great-grandfather was famous for his ceramic dishware. And potter Mykola was well-known for its originality and quality far from his village. The philosophy of the craftsmen makes «genetic» suppositions of ethnographers more precise. They suppose that each of their product «scan» the biorhythms of the Ukrainian people. Colouring and rhythmics correspond to mentality. It means that the owner doesn't feel comfortably if non-close, small oriental patterns is prevailed in dwelling interior.
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