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Belarusian Art of the 19th century

The Art of Belarus of the 19-early 20 centuries is presented in the main exhibition of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus and in its branch - "The Wankowiczes' House. Culture and Art of the first half of the 19th century museum" in Minsk and "Museum of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya" in Mogilev. Small (nearly 500 works) composition of the section is explained by the fact that as a result of the Second World war majority of works of the artistic heritage of Belarus, collections of many museums was perished. Works of the artists of the 19th century were carefully collected by the museum by returning of the Belarusian pre-war collections from Germany, as well as by way of purchase from private collections of Moscow, Petersburg and other cities of Russia.

Specifics of forming of this collection of the museum in many ways was preconditioned by historic reasons of development of the artistic culture of Belorussia in the 19th century.

Joined at the end of the 18th century as a result three divisions of Rzech Pospolita by the Russian empire, Belarus became outskirt of an enormous state, where any manifestations of the national cultural-educational motions were oppressed. In 1840, as a result of the defeat of the liberation rebellion of 1831, even using the name of Belorussia was forbidden. It officially was referred to as "North-west region".

In 1831 Vilno university - main centre of the artistic education for Belarus as well as for Lithuania was closed, even possibility of reception of the artistic education outside of the Russian empire was prohibited. The single place, where artists - natives of Belarus could get their training, - become artistic institutions of Petersburg and Moscow.


Exactly by this reason heritage of the artists of the 19th century - natives of Belarus - is included in the context of the artistic history of Russia, Poland, Lithuania, large collections of their works can be found in the collections of the national museums in Warsaw and Crakow, Lithuanian art museum in Vilnius, Tretiyakov Gallery in Moscow. However, works of art of Belarus of the 19-early 20th centuries in the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus enable us to show in detail indissoluble ties of historical development of the art of Belarus, define the figures of many remarkable representatives of painting and graphics of Belarus of these centuries.

Twenty works, made basically by an unknown artists at the end of the 18- first half of the 19th centuries, are demonstrated at the constant exhibition of the manor portraits in "The Wankowiczes' House" branch of the museum . They have saved many features of the traditional "sarmat portrait" of the previous century - images of the blazons, unfolded expository inscriptions. Among manor portraits there are works of art of the border of the 18- first half of the 19th centuries, of the well-known authors, - Konstantin Aleksandrovich and Yuzef Peshka, Martin Yablonsky and Clemens Ivashkevich.

Regrettably, there is not in the collection of the museum works of Valenty Wankowicz, artist of the first half of the 19th century, who was born and major part of his life have lived in Minsk. In the house, where one time lived the brother of the artist and where very often Valenty

Wankowicz himself could be seen, works of the artists - contemporaries of Valenty Wankowicz are demonstrated in the constant exhibition. Yan Rustem, who once occupied the position of the head of the chair of painting at Vilno university after its founder Frantishek Smuglevich, is presented by the "Portrait of Stanislav Manyushko". It is also possible to get acquainted at the exhibition with the works of the graduates of this chair, among them was Wankowicz - Yan Damel and Kanuty Rusetsky.


The expressive distinctions of the art of Belarus of the first half - mid of the 19th century are given by the creative activities of the Belarusian masters, who worked much in Russia - Josef Oleshkevich (1) and Sergey Zaryanko (2). Three portraits of Oleshkevich and two of Zaryanko are real decoration of the museum exhibition.

Especial value in the collection of the museum, denoted to the art of Belarus of the 19th century, presents 25 picturesque canvases of Ivan Khrutsky (3), showing all periods his creative way, variety of his artistic interests: not only still lifes, which particularly glorified the name of the artist, but also portraits, portraits in the interior, genre scenes. The major part of his life Ivan Khrutsky have lived in his manor house in Zaharnichi near Polotsk, where with big zeal and deep feeling he painted his own famous still lifes with flowers and vegetables, portraits of his own children and close people.


The second half of the 19th century in the history of art of Belarus in our museum collection presented by such artists, as Nikodim Silvanovich, whose small canvas "Soldier with a Boy" assonant with a programme searching of the school of Venetsianov, Ippolit Goravsky (4), whose canvas "At the Cross. The Death of the Insurgent" is an artistic manifestation of the civil position, response on a tragic result of the liberation rebellion, Tadeush Goretsky and Apollinary Goravsky.


The border the 19-early 20 centuries displays works of Ferdinand Ruschits "At the Roman Catholic Church" (5), landscapes and still lifes of Stanislav Zhukovsky (6) and dainty-poetical landscapes of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya (7).


It is characteristic for Zhukovsky to turn to the subject of homestead interior and landscape. In "Nasturtiums" (1915) the interior is painted by a sonorous intensive colour. In the beauty of the mahogany dresser, burning nasturtiums, real and reflected in a mirror, - romantic perception by the artist of the spirit of the old homestead.


Byalynitsky-Birulya - is a master artist of the lyrical landscape. The collection of his works in the museum is large (460 works of art), it displays all stages of the creative activity of the landscape painter. The beloved motive of his landscapes - is spring awakening of nature. This plot Byalynitsky-Birulya diversified repeatedly, tracking all stage of renovation of nature in spring.