Painting "Hunters by the lake"
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Artist/Maker: Sergei Ivanovich Vasilkovsky
Artist/Maker Dates: 1854 - 1917
Place of Production: Ukraine (Russian Empire)
Date of Production: end of 19th - beg. of 20th century
Materials: oil, wood
Width: 35.4 cm.
Height: 22.7 cm.
Vasylkivsky grew up in an environment conducive to his development as an artist. He was born and spent his childhood in the picturesque surroundings of Izium, a city in the historical region of Sloboda Ukraine, and today's Kharkiv Oblast. The future painter had a chumak grandfather whose roots reached cossack ancestral lines. Vasylkivsky's father was a writer and taught his son the aesthetics of proper calligraphy. His mother, through her folk songs set the foundation which provided the inspiration for Vasylkivsky's art later in life.
When he was seven years old, his parents moved to Kharkiv, which at the time was a significant cultural center of Sloboda Ukraine. Vasylkivsky's first art lessons were given at the Kharkiv gymnasium by Dmytro Bezperchy, a student of Karl Briullov. During the years of his study, Vasylkivsky was able to use the extensive book collection of his relative and poet, V. Alexandrov. Among these were the works by Ivan Kotlyarevsky, Taras Shevchenko, and Nikolai Gogol, which made a strong impression on the young artist. After five years of education at the gymnasium and at the demand of his father, Vasylkivsky began studies at the Kharkiv Veterinary School. This lasted until 1873, when Vasylkivsky left veterinary studies due to his parents inability to pay for tuition. For a while, he worked as a civil servant in Kharkiv.
In 1876, contrary to his father's wishes, Vasylkivsky left for the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts. While there, Vasylkivsky was supervised by well known landscape painters Volodymyr Orlovsky and Mykhailo Klodt. His education was supplemented with traveling exhibitions and trips back home. Upon graduation in 1885 he traveled to Europe and North Africa on a scholarship from the Academy, painting places he visited from Spain to Germany and Egypt.
In Paris, Vasylkivsky became fascinated with the Barbizon school. By the time he returned to the Academy, Vasylkivsky brought with him an exhibition of almost 50 art works. Critics praised these paintings, calling them "miniature pearls". The paintings reflected the influence of the Barbizon School's panoramic depiction of space, the sky and the silvery atmosphere of "Pierre Corot". Vasylkivsky retained these characteristics in his Ukrainian landscapes.
After settling in Kharkiv in 1888, he became active in Ukrainian artistic circles and headed the architectural and art society there. Vasylkivsky died at age 62 in Kharkiv.
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