Ukrainian Folk Artist Maria Prymachenko Featured by Croatian Museum of Naïve Art

By 28 February 2022
Maria Prymachenko, A Dove Has Spread Her Wings And Asks for Peace
Maria Prymachenko, A Dove Has Spread Her Wings And Asks for Peace

February 28th, 2022 - The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art in Zagreb honours the late Ukrainian artist Maria Prymachenko with a virtual exhibition

Maria Prymachenko (1908-1997) was a self-taught village folk artist from Ukraine, known for incredibly imaginative and colourful work featuring fantastic beings, lush flora and traditional motifs from everyday life in rural Ukraine.

In 2007, the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art put on an exhibition of the renowed artist's work, under the high patronage of the Embassy of the Republic of Ukraine in Croatia. The exhibition featured 24 artworks on loan from the Maria Prymachenko Foundation in Ukraine and the Oleg Pinchuk and Lilia Dobzhanska Collection.

The Zagreb museum is now revisiting the exhibition with a virtual edition. The curated selection of Prymachenko's work includes numerous paintings featuring imaginary beings - animals dreamed up in the artist’s imagination and inspired by folk tales and legends. Their titles, both descriptive and ambiguous, indicate possible interpretations of the works: the titular painting, for example, is titled ‘A Dragon Descends on Ukraine and Gets Entangled in the Greenery’.

primacenko.jpgM. Prymachenko, A Dragon Descends on Ukraine... (1987) / Croatian Museum of Naive Art

As stated by the academic Mykola Zhulinsky: ‘It appears that her memory treasures and wants to show us the pagan, pre-Christian fantasies about the world around us, to present us with these fantastic characters, patterns, magical signs and symbols, borne of our ancestors’ imagination hundreds and hundreds of years ago’ (quoted from the 2007 exhibition catalogue).

In a chilling turn of events, a few days after the museum in Zagreb put up the virtual exhibition commemorating the renowned Ukrainian artist, news broke out that a museum in the Ukrainian city of Ivankiv, where 25 of Prymachenko’s artworks were kept, was destroyed by the invading Russian forces. The Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum was burned to the ground.

The selection of works featured by the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, speaking of the eternal battle of good and evil, seems more relevant than ever before.

Browse the curated selection of Prymachenko’s sublime work on the pages of the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art.