The exposition includes originals by Titian, Michelangelo, Van Dyck, Francisco Goya, Pietro Antonio Novelli, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and other authors, which are still rarely exhibited to the general public. According to director Ihor Kozhan, the exhibit sums up the thematic expositions of the jubilee year 2013 (December 13, 2013, marked 100 years since Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky gifted the National Museum in Lviv (NML) to the Ukrainian people) and, at the same time, pays honor to another important event in the museum’s life – 40 years of the graphics restoration studio.
“Metropolitan Sheptytsky selected his collection in a very farsighted manner, choosing not only the rare objects of Ukrainian national art, but also European and worldwide artworks,” says art historian Prof. Roman YATSIV. “The exhibit, now underway at the National Museum, displays as an integrated artifact some drawings by 16th-18th-century West European (mostly Italian) masters. The collection is valuable because, above all, it presents original graphics, which means that, no matter what the drawing’s theme and manner are, it exists in one copy, and you won’t find a similar one in any other collection. Besides, these drawings can help you trace the artists’ favorable themes because drawing was mostly used as an auxiliary method by sculptures, painters, and architects. In this case, there are a lot of works that need to be explained from this angle.”
In Yatsiv’s view, the current exposition may considerably boost the reputation of certain artists because Western museums very carefully study big, comprehensive, exhibitions dedicated to a certain epoch and a certain circle of artists. The professor emphasizes: “A lot of the Lviv material is unknown to Europeans. Therefore, this could be a major sensation, albeit not so great as Pinzel, for experts in many museums of the world.”
In the opinion of Prof. Yatsiv, this exhibit at the National Museum, as well as the previous one, “In the Records of Time” (where audiences were also shown a part of restorer artists’ creative work), uncover some important layers of world culture and Ukrainian culture in the contest of the latter. Prof. Yatsiv also emphasizes such a dimension as the exposition’s influence on modern-day Ukrainian society. “The point is that Ukrainians should make use – in a very responsible and balanced way – of these gains and thus compare their culture and tradition with those of the world. And this is perhaps a nice opportunity to speak about the Ukrainians’ Europeanness because many of these ties can be traced at the level of artists, relations between the Ukrainian and, say, Italian artists and architects, as well as the clergy, because it is also about the Vatican and our metropolitans, Lev and Andrei Sheptytsky. The Ukrainians must be aware of this and be very careful of and responsible for what we have and thus become culturally higher,” he says.
The exhibition “16th-18th-Century Western European Painting from NML Collections” is open until March 3 at the address: 20, Prospekt Svobody.