Ukrainian art is a treasury of creativity that inspires and unites people around its beautiful heritage. It remains an essential part of the cultural world and continues to evolve, inspiring other artists and audiences with its uniqueness and depth.

However, the pioneers include the following figures.

Vasyl and Fedir Krychevsky

These native brothers were exceptionally talented, engaging in painting, book graphics, industrial design, and experimenting with styles. Vasyl was one of the founders of Ukrainian Art Nouveau (the Zemstvo House in Poltava, 1908), creating sketches for ceramics and carpet design, overseeing the artistic aspects of several films. He was the creator of the first sketches of the Ukrainian coat of arms using Prince Volodymyr’s trident. His younger brother Fedir focused on painting, and his monumental triptych “Life” from 1927 is an example of the combination of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, incorporating elements of Ukrainian religious painting.

Kazimir Malevich

He founded Suprematism, the highest manifestation of breaking away from realism in painting. Color, form, texture, movement – these are the main elements of this geometric abstract art movement. His iconic work is the “Black Square” from 1915 – powerful, concise, and profound, like a black hole.

Georgy Narbut

He represents the high Ukrainian style, in his works Ukraine ceased to be called “Little Russia.” Narbut’s work includes exquisite book graphics, intricate lines, and craftsmanship. He designed magazine covers, silhouette portraits, watercolors, coats of arms, banknotes, and stamps for the Ukrainian state in 1918. In 1918, he created a new identity for his young state – designing money, stamps, seals, and coat of arms.

Kateryna Bilokur

A naive artist who spent her entire life in the village of Bohdanivka in Kyiv region. Her parents and fellow villagers considered painting unsuitable for a woman, which drove her to attempt suicide. Like many Soviet peasants, she didn’t have a passport and was attached to a collective farm. The authorities found it convenient to portray her as a “peasant artist,” even though the intricacy, color palette, and play of light in her paintings are impressive. She made her own brushes from cat and cow hair, as well as cherry twigs. She applied each stroke to her paintings as if she were embroidering and stretched the canvas on a frame, like embroidery hoops.

Maria Prymachenko

Another naive artist who lived her entire life in the village of Bilotyne in the Kyiv region. She created over 800 graphic sheets with unique images of fantastical animals, birds, reptiles, and original floral and genre compositions.

Oleksandra Ekster

One of the main experimenters in stage design at the beginning of the 20th century, she transformed the approach to body movement and the role of lighting on the theatrical stage. She began to utilize the entire stage space, not just the floor, developed constructions for performances on multiple levels, like the Ukrainian nativity scene, and used bright, contrasting colors in costumes, borrowing this principle from Ukrainian folk painting. During World War I, she established one of the first private schools in Kyiv to teach children and adults the principles of cubo-futurist representation.

Maria Zankovetska

A Ukrainian actress passionately dedicated to the theater, she became famous for her leading female roles and played a significant role in the early development of Ukrainian realistic theater in the 19th century. She successfully portrayed the main female characters in plays based on classical works by Karpenko-Kary, Staritsky, Kotliarevsky, Kropyvnytsky, Shevchenko, and performed in the first professional theater groups. The Ukrainian artistic elite gathered around her, and Ukrainian playwrights specifically wrote their works for her.