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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Vasyl Hurin’s Crimea

1 April, 2014 - 10:38
HURIN’S GRADUATION PROJECT, PAINTING A MORNING ON THE VINEYARD, IS STILL CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE BEST PAINTINGS IN THE SCHOOL’S HISTORY. EVEN AT THIS EARLY STAGE THE YOUNG ARTIST’S OUTSTANDING COMPOSITION AND COLORIST SKILLS ARE OBVIOUS. HURIN WAS ABLE TO CREATE AN EXPRESSIVE IMAGE OF CRIMEAN NATURE, CAPTURE THE BEAUTY AND FRESHNESS OF THE NEW DAY, AND BIND THEM WITH A MUSIC THEME OF THE GIRLS SINGING IN THE VINEYARDS / Illustrations courtesy of the author

On March 18 Vasyl Hurin, People’s Artist of Ukraine, member of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine, turned 75.

Hurin was born in 1939 in the Crimean steppe village of Pershotravneve. He got his first painting lessons from V. Voznesensky, who had studied for some time at the Samokysh Crimean Art School and obtained a degree in the history of art from the Ilya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad. It was Voznesensky who noticed young Hurin’s artistic talent and insisted that he continues his studies at the Crimean Art School. Later Voznesensky took immense pride in it and considered it to be his utmost achievement.

In 1958 Hurin graduated from the painting and pedagogy department of the Art School (which is now a higher educational establishment), where he had been taught by M. Pysanko, O. Puzyrevych, and I. Zhuravliova. Mykola Pysanko, now a renowned educator and theorist of fine arts, treated the talented student as his own son. Hurin, who lost his father in the war, remained Pysanko’s grateful friend through all his life.

At the Kyiv Institute of Arts he was the pupil of outstanding Ukrainian painters Karpo Trokhymenko, Leonid Chychkan, and Mykola Storozhenko. For two years he studied under Serhii Hryhoriev at the Academy of Arts’ creative atelier. However, it is not only his teachers who contributed greatly to the artist’s fate. The sunlit Crimean landscapes played an evenly important role in his fate as an artist, and so did the painter’s parents. They endowed him with numerous talents: a wonderful voice and love for Ukrainian folk songs, a gift of artistic vision, and later, a great talent for teaching new generations of painters.

Crimean themes occupy one of the central places in his work. According to the artist, “The clear Crimean air, the sun, the pure colors of the sky, sea, and Crimean lakes, and the unique steppes: all of this gives an artist the freshness of color perception, and his colors become clear, light-filled, and transparent.”

I find it symbolic that Hurin is my fellow countryman, and that our parents were good friends, and that as children we had the same teacher. Due to all this my life is also connected with fine arts. And when I was a student at the Crimean Art School, I remember that Hurin’s graduation project was always before my eyes, like an unattainable model inspiring special pride.

Hurin often visits Crimea, his homeland, where he has many friends, where he draws his inspiration, where he gets charged on the energy of Nature’s pristine beauty, and where he immerses in light sadness brought by memories of his childhood and parents. The artist loves his alma mater, the Crimean Arts School, and he is worried about its present and future, as well as about the fates of the graduates. The best of them enroll in the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Architecture, thus becoming his pupils.

Today, when our fatherland is in danger, when armed interventionists have occupied Crimea, we (the painters of Crimea and Kyiv) consider Hurin to be one of us. The public and amateurs of his art congratulate the painter on his birthday anniversary and wish him good health, boundless inspiration, and energy. May all his dreams come true!

By Liudmyla BORODINA, art historian, member of the National Association of Painters of Ukraine, executive secretary, Crimean branch of the NAPU
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