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Wood carving in Ukraine
Wood carving in Ukraine has become one of the most exquisite and perfect forms of artistic wood working.
Judging from several preserved items, some purely folk motives could be observed even in woodcarving of the Princely period. After a long period of stagnation during the time of Tatar invasion a new upraise of that art started from the XVI century. During the golden age of the Cossack State in the XVII - XVIII century folk woodcarving in Ukraine reached its peak. Door casings, door jabs, eaves of wooden buildings wooden household articles, furniture and house outfit, chests, wooden utensils, implements, weapons and military equipment were decorated with woodcarving. Woodcarving of church iconostases and other items of religious use achieved extremely gorgeous decorative perfection. The basis of those polychromatic or gilded carvings made in the Baroque style was a succulent and intricate floral ornament, which consisted of skillfully stylized folk motives: vine, sunflowers, mallows, roses etc. those compositions perfectly matched architectural elements of iconostases, which usually were many-tiered. Those artistically and technically brilliant woodcarvings acquired even more grandiosity and portliness in the period of Rococo. The Baroque and Rococo ornamental forms and motives very often were combined with figures of saints, angels, etc.
The period of classicism and Empire style did not displace the Baroque and Rococo motives, but gave the carving more concentration and calm.
Hand and altar crosses, pateras, candlesticks, church-chandeliers, lecterns, kiots, grave and roadside crosses etc. are very interesting examples of folk woodcarving.
Unfortunately, in Soviet Ukraine the greater part of those brilliant examples of folk woodcarving of a world significance were plundered and destroyed by Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920th-30th and for that reason it exists only in fragments, in descriptions and photographs.
Till the middle of the XIX century woodcarving achieved a high level of development in all Ukrainian lands, especially in Poltavshchyna. Ornament peculiarities show that in Galychyna and Volyn there was an inclination to geometrical forms, and in central Ukraine and in the western Ukrainian lands - to floral ornament.
Gutsul carving is an interesting phenomenon of Ukrainian folk woodcarving; the middle of the XIX - beginning of the XX century was the peak of its development. Its oldest examples date from the XVII century onward. That was quite primitive carved icons - "obrazy", or sacred images. But as far back as at the beginning of the XIX century articles of Gutsul woodcarving, which showed quick tempo of development, became similar to analogous examples from Podniprov'ya. Gutsul-made articles of that period included all types of household articles, and especially - religious articles. In the latter group especially remarkable are hand altar crosses with a strict form construction and thorough execution.
Traditionally the Gutsuls embellished such articles as topirets' (walking stick/hatchet), pistols, fire steels, powder-flasks and barrels. Till the middle of the XIX century the simplest tools were used for that purpose - a knife, an awl, nails. But with the introduction by Yura Shkryblyak (1823 - 1885) of turning technique the artistic and technical perfection of articles was considerably increased. That craftsman in his work used hardened chisels that he made himself. In addition to traditional motives ("ryesky", "kryvulky", "ruzhya" (guns), "kucheri" (curls), "slyvky" (plums), "kolosky" (ears), "rozklyny", "khreshchyky"), which were very close to geometrical type of ancient pysankas (painted Easter eggs) embellishments, he was the first to use a new type of embellishment - encrustation with darts, metal plates, "patsyorkas" (colored glass beads). Then the sons of Y. Shkryblyak improved the encrustation and intarsia significantly, reaching the acme of skill. in the XX century "patsyorkuvanya" (bead encrustation) also became widely spread, which Gutsul craftsmen brought to perfection. Folk woodcarvings from Gutsulshchyna were the highest achievement of the Ukrainians in this branch of decorative and applied art.
In the XX century folk woodcarving experienced two big periods of upraising and revival of interest towards it - in the 1920th - beginning of the 1930th and in the 1960th - 1970th. Now the most popular are wood-carved articles from the Carpathian region and from regions of Pravoberezhya.
Gold-Weaving in Galicia from the 18th to the first third of the 20th centuries: History, Typology, and Characteristics of Art and Style. Manuscript.
Dissertation as a fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Candidate of Art History with the specialization 17.00.06, Decorative and Applied Art. L'viv Academy of Arts, L'viv 2003.
The dissertation analyzes gold weaving in Galicia from the 18th to the first third of the 20th centuries. Gold weaving of this region and time period constitutes an original phenomenon of national culture and art; one which heretofore has not been studied in great detail. The study incorporates a historical analysis of gold weaving in Ukraine, beginning with the state of Old Rus'. It delineates historical and cultural factors, which have contributed to the flourishing of gold-weaving industry on the territory of Galicia in the 18th century. In addition, the study describes in detail the main centres and workshops of gold-woven products. The preserved artistic objects, analyzed in the present study, were consulted in several museum collections in both Ukraine and Poland. These objects are analyzed from a typological perspective of gold weaving, including their purpose and types of decorative ornamentation. With respect to the characteristics of art and style, these objects are discussed in the context of European art styles. Moreover, the study includes a quantitative analysis of the predominant types of gold-weavings. The investigation of gold-weaving samples of the second half of the 18th century evinces certain peculiarities, characteristic specifically of gold weaving of Galicia. In particular, whereas prior to the middle of the 18th century, in Galicia, stylistic elements of the local transformations of patterns of Oriental (Muslim) origin were predominant in the ornamentation of gold-woven objects, in the second half of the 18th century, in the dйcor of fashion fabric, gold-woven belts and macats, it is possible to define stylistic peculiarities of European art styles such as baroque and rococo with an incorporation of national art traditions.
The characteristics of art and style of the typological groups of gold-weavings, which were produced in the workshops of Galicia in the 18th century, differed considerably from others. Specifically, in the ornamentation of decorative fabric, i.e. gold-woven macats,characteristics of Western-European styles of baroque and rococo dominated. However, arrays of fashion fabric, including the gold-woven belts, are delineated by the considerable influence of Muslim stylistics, particularly in the role played by Persian and Turkish art. Traces of traditional, national art are most vividly seen in the character of dйcor of gold-weavings, which were produced in small, provincial textile centres.
Further, the dissertation analyzes silk-products from the workshop in Buchach (1879-1939). It relates its history to the general processes and transformations with respect to products of gold weaving of the 18th century in general. This section of the study includes a discussion of art pieces, which have not made their way into scholarly discussion. Moreover, the study provides a typological analysis of decorative gold-woven macats of Buchach. Importantly, the dissertation discusses the influence of gold weaving on the traditional fabrics of the Carpathian region. Last but not least, the study provides perspectives as to how the heritage of gold weaving of Galicia could be applied in contemporary textile.
The main finding of this dissertation is the fact that in Galicia, although traditions of gold weaving have not had a smooth line of historical development, nevertheless, gold weaving as a phenomenon needs to be viewed as a valuable and inalienable part of Ukrainian decorative and applied art. Importantly, the elements of art and style of gold-weavings produced in the workshops of Galicia, with their unique combination of Oriental primary sources, European influences of style, and traditions of Ukrainian art are characterized national originality.