Petrykivka painting is a traditional Ukrainian decorative painting style.
This unique folk art developed out of the tradition of Ukrainian baroque fairly recently (in the 18th and early 19th centuries), and is associated with the heyday of the Cossacks. These bright, colorful, and brilliant drawings – with elements mostly of fruit and floral decoration, less often with images of fantastic birds – decorated Ukrainians’ houses, their household items, dishes, towels, clothes, and even sleighs and beehives. Its current name comes from the village of Petrykivka, which is not far from Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk). In 1936- 1941, village teacher Alexander Statyva organized the Petrykivka School of Decorative Arts, which breathed new life into the ancient folk art. After the war, Petrykivka painting experienced a revival, with the renewed popularity of decorating wood and porcelain, glass and leather. Modern artists paint on jewelry, fabric, shoes – almost anything – adding a distinctive look.
The artist’s imagination is not limited by anything, not by choice of image, by paints, or by materials. Petrykivka painting is done in watercolor and oil, vegetable paints, colored clay and gouache, acrylic and tempera. It is drawn with homemade brushes (especially popular are ones made from cat fur), pipettes, styluses, sticks, and even fingers. Unlike many other traditional painting styles, almost any background is acceptable – from black or bright color to pure white. Each artist has his own distinctive recognizable style. Unfortunately, the Petrykivka painting factory closed back in 2006. Today there is a Folk Art Center in Petrykivka, which produces souvenirs, but most artists familiar with the technique live throughout Ukraine and work in their own studios. Their art can be bought in special stores, at fairs, and on the Internet.
This article was published in the book Interesting Ukraine.
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© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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