At first glance, winter may appear cold and reserved, but it is, in fact, no less fun than summer, especially for children, and its color palette is equally wide. So it comes as no surprise that winter has always tickled artists’ imagination with its fiery celebrations, vivid colors and traditional festivities. “Yurii Herts has conveyed the atmosphere of winter holidays in a highly skillful manner. His works often feature carol singers with the Christmas star, joyful crowds of peasants and nativity scenes. Even the sun in his paintings sparkles in bright colors rather than sits still in its majestic snow-white beauty as in the works by other painters. In this way, a landscape painting turns into a nativity scene under his brush,” art critic Viktoria KUDRIAVTSEVA says.
Herts’s paintings are now on display in the ABC art gallery on Vozdvyzhenska Street in Kyiv. There they are in good company with works by other artists fascinated with winter: Volodymyr Yemets, Ivan Marchuk, Volodymyr Mykyta, and Mykhailo Demtsiu. Also featured are paintings by Albin Gavdzinsky, an undeniable master of winter landscape art.
“Nature as a source of inspirations gave life to numerous artistic masterpieces, while seasons, stable in their change, have long been associated with the circular nature of human life. Winter populates various geographical, cultural and historical places in world art: the US, Finland, and China; Northern Renaissance and the Edo period; allegoric and epic, symbolic and romantic works; Pieter Bruegel, Rockwell Kent, Caspar David Friedrich, Utagawa Hiroshige, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and others. In our gallery winter is equally multifaceted: graphic and scenic, classic and contemporary, chamber and all-embracing, realistic and impressionistic, urban and ethnographic,” Myroslava KRAT, art manager at the ABC art gallery, says. “The pictures by Fedir Zakharov, Alla Horska, and Fedir Konovaliuk depict the snow-covered Carpathians and the cold streets of Kyiv and Lviv, festivities and rituals, nights in December and mornings in January, frost-ornamented windowpanes and snow in May. Add to this a beautiful, snowy, sleeping but not drowsy winter city painted by Albin Gavdzinsky.”
Ukrainian winter can hardly be called black-and-white. On the contrary, it has a kind of noble snowy cleanness and elegant forms. The white glistens, sparkles, and goes through a gamut of shades, from cold blue to red. A winter-inspired exhibit has also opened in Mystetska Zbirka (Art Collection), another art gallery in Kyiv. It includes, among others, works by Anton Kashshai. Still in his lifetime, he imparted joyful energy and optimism to everyone around. According to many of his contemporaries, he stood out through his European character and beau monde charm and his paintings through their intrinsic freedom and powerful force. “During Anton Kashshai’s long life, his paintings traveled across the entire world. Today his works are on display in many museums and galleries – the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Museum, the Kyiv Museum of Fine Art and virtually in all regional museums in Ukraine, as well as in Ukrainian museums and galleries in the US, Canada, Japan, Italy, Norway, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania,” art critic Olha KHODIR says. “There is Kashshai’s personal art gallery in Toronto, Canada. Nearly half of the 50 works kept there are winter landscapes. Kashshai loved winter very much and was so good at painting it that it earned him the nickname Winter Maestro.”