Andy Warhol

















Paiting Art




Sing Song






I. Gašparovič is the first president to visit an exhibition opening of A. Warhol’s works

Assistant Professor Juraj Kresila passed away unexpectedly

Snina in the Spirit of Fine Arts

An Anonymous Author Expressed Himself to the Fullest



Ivan Gašparovič is the first president to visit an exhibition opening of Andy Warhol’s works


In the picture by M. Sirík (from the left): the first lady of the Slovak Republic Sylvia Gašparovičová; Ivan Gašparovič, the President of the Slovak Republic; Valika Maďarová, the Director of the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art and other guests looking at Andy Warhol’s works at the gala opening of the exhibition in Dublin.

President Ivan Gašparovič at the gala opening of an exhibition showing works by Andy Warhol, a world-known artist of Rusyn descent, in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, on March 27th, 2007 (in the background, the most famous portrait by Andy Warhol)

Photo: Miroslav Sirik


On March 27th, 2007 in the Dublin Castle museum in Ireland, the President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovič, opened an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s works. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Michal Bycko, PhD. and Mgr. Martin Cubjak and prepared by the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art (AWMMA) and the Andy Warhol Association in Medzilaborce, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Ireland. President Ivan Gašparovič, according to available sources, is the first president of a sovereign state outside of the USA, to personally take part in an exhibition opening of work by this significant artist of the second half of the 20th century. The fact that the roots of this uncrowned king of pop-art lie in Slovakia, in the Rusyn village of Miková (from where his Rusyn parents left to look for work in the USA) makes it even more significant. The exhibition is entitled “ANDY WARHOL – HIS SLOVAK ROOTS“  

The exhibition will run until April 27th, 2007 and on May 1st, 2007 will be reinstalled in the Cork Public Museum.

Iveta RUSINKOVÁ, Curator of AWMMA in Medzilaborce, March 30th, 2007




MARCH 27, 2007

APRIL 27, 2007
MAY 1, 2007
MAY 27, 2007

The Embassy of the Slovak Republic
20 Clyde Road
Ballsbridge, Dublin


It is really a special occasion to introduce to the Irish public the work of Andy Warhol – a famous artist with Slovak roots. After an exhibition dedicated to the world known politician Mr. Alexander Dubček in Trinity College two years ago and after the exhibition devoted to the life of the founding father of Slovakia, a General of French Army Mr. Milan Rastislav Štefánik in Aliance Francaise in Dublin last year, we have now an unique opportunity to bring to the Dublin Castle the spirit of the king of pop art Andy Warhol. It is also our privilege to highlight through this exhibition the first official visit of the President of Slovakia His Excellency Ivan Gasparovic to Ireland.

            Little Andy was born to Slovak parents after they had moved to the United States of America as millions of other families did. The family of little Andy lived in Pittsburgh where at the beginning of the last century a very large community of Slovaks lived for obvious reasons – picturesque landscape of Pennsylvania reminded our Slovak grandparents of their Slovak homeland and there was a lot of  work opportunities – namely hard work in the coal mines. After his studies of art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh young Andy moved to New York where he started to develop fully his creativity. Andy Warhol brought a very revolutionary approach to all genres of art he had touched – painting, sculpture, photography, music, film, fashion, literature. He, somehow, tried to synchronize the art with the modern time influenced by consumerism he lived in – we may say he helped define that time. In 1960 he founded the famous „Factory“, gathering around himself a wide range of artists and friends like sir Mick Jagger, Liza Minelli, John Lennon, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Brigitte Bardot, later also Michael Jackson. Throughout the decade it became more and more clear that there had been profound change in the culture of the art world, and that Warhol was at the centre of that shift. Let us mention just a few of his famous works – Campbells Soup Cans, Coke Bottles, Disaster painting and portraits of celebrities like Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

            During his life Andy Warhol has achieved something that many artists dream of but few get to. He became an icon of a new brand of art – pop art. Some people say he was weird, well from certain point of view he definitely was. But it is not true that great artists create their own world where our optic simply don´t match?  Andy Warhol became celebrity already during his lifetime also thanks to his popular quotes. He said that „In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes“. Well, this maybe true for everyone but surely not for Andy Warhol, his world fame has definitely exceeded 15 minutes.

             Ten years ago, during my posting at the Embassy of Slovakia in the US, when I visited Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh –  the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist -  I told myself  it would be nice to promote the Slovak roots of the king of pop art. Several years later after Slovakia had joined European Union during Irish presidency I promised to my Irish friends to bring Andy Warhol to this beautiful country. I am very pleased that we have got this exhibition here and that we can extend the exhibition also to the City of Cork that gave a warm welcome to my country on its way to the Union.

 Ján Gábor

Ambassador of Slovakia in Dublin


Assistant Professor Juraj Kresila passed away unexpectedly


on March 22nd, 2007 in Prešov. Born in the Rusyn village of Michajlov in the Snina region, he was an academic painter and a teacher of fine arts at the Pedagogical Faculty in Prešov, P. J. Šafárik University (1961 – 1963), at the Philosophical Faculty in Prešov (1967 – 1978), and at University of Fine Arts in Bratislava (1978 – 1990). He was an untiring artist and organiser, who loved the still life of his Rusyn fatherland and whom you could find at every event connected with fine arts taking place in Prešov. And not only there; at present, there are three exhibitions of his works in various galleries. Speaking of galleries, he was a founder of the Atrium Gallery in Prešov and the honoured chairman of its club. Just a short time ago, in a good mood and full of strength and vigour, he opened his last exhibition entitled Pictures from a Drawer on March 9th, 2007 in Dvorana pod Viničnou skalou (The Hall under the Wine Rock) in Brekov near Humenné. His scenic landscapes, portraits (in the picture you can see his self-portrait) and drawings grace many rooms and galleries, they please a lot of viewers and will continue to do so in the future. The burial took place on March 26th, 2007 in the Prešov Chapel of Rest.

A. Z., 26. 3. 2007


Snina in the Spirit of Fine Arts


From September 3rd until September 17th, 2006, Snina hosted the 13th International Festival of the Andrej Smolak Gallery. The open air festival was visited by fifteen international fine artists, especially young painters from the Czech Republic, Russia, Greece, Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia.


The 13th year did not miss out sculptors. Ladislav Stano, inspired by a legend about a sleeping devil, created a sculpture of a devil, which will be placed at Tri table, a valley situated high up on a hill under the Sninsky Kamen tor. A work by the young sculptor Stanislava Gagacova could be seen at the exhibition and it will probably be placed in the Gallery of Monumental Sculptures.


This year’s festival was enriched by the artistic design of a new postage stamp by the late Rusyn painter Dezider Milly, a National Artist (Translator’s note: National Artist – a title awarded to significant artists.) born in Kyjov, (in the Stara Lubovna region). The stamp will be issued on October, 20th, 2006. The grand finale of the festival took place on September 15th, 2006 in the cinema hall of the Town Culture House, where, among others, the A. Dukhnovich Theatre from Prešov performed their play Princove halušky (The Prince’s Halushki). From September 18th until September 30th, 2006, the visitors could see some of the artistic works presented at the above-mentioned open-air festival in the premises of Matica slovenska (The Slovak League) in Snina.

- sk - 

(Shortened and edited by A. Z.; the complete article entitled „Snina v znamen´i vytvarnoho umeňa“ can, in the Rusyn version, be found on our website, in the column VYTVARNICTVO (FINE ARTS).)


An Anonymous Author Expressed Himself to the Fullest


On September 10th, 2006 in the Greek-Catholic vestry called Nebicko (Little Heaven) situated on Hlavna street in Prešov, an exhibition of the folk artist Juraj Molnar entitled Na počesť našej nebeskej Matke (A Tribute to Our Heavenly Mother) was formally opened.


Juraj Molnar (1938), born in Kyjov (in the Stara Lubovna region), was, in his work, inspired especially by his fatherland, the beauty of which has always spoken to sensitive and perceptive people; and the author himself is one of them. No surprise his heart is so big, as throughout his whole life, he has helped people as a hospital attendant, which requires a lot of sensitivity and understanding of the ill. Hardly anybody knew, though, that in those helping hands lay a hidden talent to hold and handle a brush. That is why, at the exhibition, a pleasant surprise was also expressed by the present doctors and the former colleagues of the author. Everybody could see him as a modest, quiet and very religious person loving natural beauty, but also spiritual beauty, which was mentioned in the speech of Mgr. Father Peter Pavol Halko, OSBM, a vicar for Rusyns of the Greek-Catholic Church. The artist was also acknowledged by the Mayor of Prešov Ing. Milan Benc. Mr Chamila, the Mayor of Kyjov, spoke on behalf of the author’s fellow townsfolk. Anna Poracova-Sutakova with her daughter Anicka, Anna Servicka and Regina Jaroscakova pleased all those attending the ceremonial opening of the exhibition with their singing,



At the opening of Juraj Molnars exhibition, which took place on September 10th, 2006 in Prešov, among others, the Rusyn singers Anna Poracova-Sutakova with her daughter Anicka performed. Father Peter Pavol Halko, a vicar for Rusyns of the Greek-Catholic Church (on the right), was also present. Second from the right – Juraj Molnar, the featured artist.

Photo: Tomas Majernik


It can be appreciated that those attending could also hear spoken and sung Rusyn, as the author himself as well as a majority of the audience were Rusyns. It is necessary to say that, recently, we have not attended many events in Prešov where so many Rusyns of such a high spiritual level have been present. The opening could surely be seen as a presentation of Rusyn folk fine art and Rusynity in general.



(Shortened and edited by A. Z.; the complete article entitled „Anonimnyj maľar´ sja napovno projavîv“ can, in the Rusyn version, be found on our website, in the column VYTVARNICTVO (FINE ARTS).)



The International Exhibition of Rusyn Fine Art, opened within the 8th World Congress of Rusyns in the Polish town of Krynica with Polish and Slovak artists in attendance. It took place between June 24th and July 24 in the Nikifora Museum.


The first international biennial of Rusyn fine art (Presov, Slovakia), took place within the 7th World Congress of Rusyns. The biennial was held in the Saris Museum in Presov from June 7th until July 7th, 2003 and was sponsored by Steven Chepa of Toronto who donated USD 1 000.



The cultural and artistic evolution of Rusyns living on both sides of the *Carpathian Mountains has been largely influenced by their geographical location at the meeting place of central, eastern, and southeastern Europe. The fact that their homeland has been located on the periphery of every state in which they have lived has also had a significant impact on the spiritual sphere of Rusyn society. These two characteristics are evident in the archeological remains found during the Copper and Bronze Ages (3000-900 BCE). The oldest remaining examples of cultural artifacts created by tribes living in the Upper Tisza Region south of the Carpathian crests appear even earlier, during the Neolithic Period (5000-3000 BCE). These include clay female figures that suggest the existence of a cult of the mother-goddess or a life-giving god. At the end of the second and outset of the first millennium BCE, the Upper Tisza Region became a center for metal-working and a source for metal instruments for tribes living nearby and farther afield. For the longest time, metal production was concentrated in what later became the towns of Mukachevo, Berehovo, and Vynohradovo. More than 300 objects from this period attest to the high quality of production.


For instance, semi-utilitarian objects like hammers for minting, axes, lance tips, and swords all have forms and ornamentation that point to a high level of artistic sophistication. Copper and bronze ornaments, mostly bracelets, spiral armbands, hair-pins, rings, fibula, and shoulder bands, are the oldest examples of applied art. Metallic artifacts from the Copper and Bronze Ages displayed in museums throughout Subcarpathian Rus’, eastern Slovakia, and Hungary, are, in terms of their artistic value, comparable to the better known collections of metal production from centers in the Caucasus and Ural mountains. The Bronze Age culture of the Upper Tisza Region gradually was transformed into the culture of the Iron Age. This is evident from the strength of that culture’s representatives, the northern Thracians of the Hallstatt civilization and later the Celts of La Tène civilization. Both were represented by agricultural and livestock raising populations, whose way of life became an important element in the subsequent formation of Slavic cultures in the Upper Tisza Region. A profound change in the culture and art of the Upper Tisza Region took place following the introduction of Christianity during the late ninth and early tenth centuries. The multiethnic population of the region was now thrust into the vigorous wave of European Christian civilization. The result in the eastern Carpathians and their foothills was the creation of an amalgam of local folk art and the already canonized cultural norms of the Christian church in western and southeastern Europe (the Balkans). Christianity itself brought to the Upper Tisza Region elements from Europe’s two great cultural spheres: the Byzantine or Orthodox East and the Latin or Catholic West. The most distinctive monuments of both the East and the West, as well as those that have been best preserved in *Carpathian Rus’, are its architectural structures (see Architecture).


With regard to the fine arts, all that has survived from this early period are the fourteenth-century frescoes depicting the life and suffering of Christ on the walls of the *Horiany Rotunda (near Uzhhorod in *Subcarpathian Rus’). These were painted by artists under the influence of the early Renaissance Italian master, Giotto (1266-1337). Stylistically, the Horiany frescoes are related to those in churches of neighboring Slovakia, where a group of Italian artists had been working. Gothic fresco painting also made its way into Subcarpathian Rus’, as seen on the walls of the nave added to the Horiany Rotunda (Crucifixion and St. Mary the Protectress from the 15th century) and on the walls of the church in Kid’osh (The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene, The Holy Grail, and St. Catherine, 15th century). Nor were these frescoes unique to the region; others in the same style appeared in several churches (Muzhiievo, Chornotysovo, etc.), although they were destroyed during the wars of the Reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These works were painted by masters connected to the northern European Gothic, whose influence reached the foothills of the Carpathians via German colonists. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Subcarpathian Rus’ and eastern Slovakia found themselves in the center of the protracted war between the Habsburgs and Transylvania. The conflicts not only discouraged the production of new art, they also contributed to destroying existing artistic works, especially in the towns. The result is that works from the Renaissance and early Baroque period, whether religious or secular in nature, have not survived. Meanwhile, spiritual life in the Rusyn village continued to evolve on its own, so that the resultant specific characteristics found in religious images (icons) produced throughout Carpathian Rus’ have led some art historians to refer to Carpathian-style icons, or to a Carpathian school of icon painting. Despite contacts between Carpathian Rus’ and Orthodox religious centers in the south (the Balkans) and the north (Galicia), artistic works in Rusyn churches were far from those based on classic Eastern Christian Byzantine models. Although there were some exceptions, Rusyn icons were generally rendered in a primitive rustic folk style. After all, parishioners living in poor villages in the *Carpathian Mountains and lower foothills were hardly able to afford to purchase icons from professional painters, let alone permanently engage the services of such masters. Instead, they had to be satisfied with what they could get from local iconographers who had no training.


For these painters, it was the content of an icon, not the technical skill with which it was painted, that was all important. From their perspective, the icon was to convey a clear spiritual message or recall a well-known story from the annals of Christianity and not attempt to depict reality in a naturalistic manner. The best examples of Rusyn folk icons are preserved in churches in the mountainous highland (Verkhovyna) parts of Subcarpathian Rus’ and in the *Prešov Region Rusyn villages of eastern Slovakia and the *Lemko Region of southeastern Poland (see Map 2). The oldest example is the sixteenth-century icon, Praise to the Mother of God, from the village church in Iza (Subcarpathian Rus’), which has become known in the annals of folk icons as the “Carpathian Madonna.” This type of Mother of God, the Hodegetria, that is, a tender Virgin Mary expressing a sense of anxiety and sadness, became a model for other folk icon-painters during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, such as the Hodegetria in the village of Rovné (16th century). From the village church in Rovné has also come the best-known icon in terms of the aesthetic quality of its composition, the Deesis, as well as icons of St. Paraskeva and St. Michael the Archangel. Despite their rustic quality, all reveal the strong influence of late Byzantine icons. Similar in style are icons from Rusyn villages in the Prešov Region: The Image of Christ Not With Hands and The Last Judgment in Venecia; St. Nicholas and St. Michael the Archangel in Uličské Krivé; and St. Nicholas in Príkra. The Baroque era also had an impact on Carpathian icons, in particular through the introduction of a new aesthetic that included a rejection of mysticism and asceticism, and a sense of joy in the earthly life. Baroque influence grew in connection with the acceptance of the *Unia/Church Union (1596 in Galicia, 1646 in Subcarpathia). There even arose what might be called centers of iconography operated by brotherhood guilds, such as the one in the Galician town of Sudova Vyshnia. From there came the most renowned Baroque icon painter, Illia *Brodlakovych, who in the mid-seventeenth century lived and worked in the Subcarpathian city of Mukachevo. Brodlakovych’s icon done for the village church in Shelestovo, The Archangel Michael (1646), reveals the clear influence of monumental-style Italian Baroque painting. He painted icons in this same style for the village church in Rus’ke near Mukachevo. Another iconographer from the Sudova Vyshnia center, Ivan Vyshens’kyi, completed an iconostasis for the village of Sukhyi during the 1680s; it was, however, much more rustic in character. The same church includes fragments of an iconostasis by Ivan Shyrets’kyi from Galicia, The Sacrifice of Abraham and The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. In both works the painter rendered biblical figures in contemporary garb and placed them against a backdrop of local Subcarpathian architecture or a mountain landscape.


To this group of works also belong icons from the Lemko Region villages of Brunary, Nowa Wieś, and Szczawnik, and the Prešov Region villages of Venecia, Matysová, Príkra, and Krivé, all of which are distinguished by distinct graphic ornamentation. Another center of iconography lay in the far western Lemko Region, probably in the small town of Muszyna. Its workshops supplied icons to churches in both the Lemko Region and the Prešov Region on the southern slopes of the mountains. Icons from the “Muszyna school” were noted for their stylistic and iconographic conservatism and the dominance of linear graphic features with plant-like decorative elements in the background. They were generally of high technical standard and reflected deep spiritual inspiration on the part of their creators. Many of their features were clearly related to the religious art of Moldavia, which is a likely indication of the Lemko Region’s links to the much older Byzantine Orthodox church traditions and religious art of the Balkans. The oldest known icon from the Muszyna school dates from 1623 (The Last Judgment in Powroźnik by Pavlo Rodŷmskii); the most recent from 1654 (The Mother of God Hodegetria in Venecia, transferred from Nowa Wieś). Other examples of icons from the Muszyna school are found in several villages in the western part of the Lemko Region (Szczawnik, Jastrzębik, Leluchów, Stawisza, Zubrzyk, Nowa Wieś, Brunary Wyżne, Banica, Czarna, Złockie, Bodaki) as well as in the nearby Prešov Region (Tročany, Matysová, Príkra, Venecia), including The Last Judgment by Pavlo of Muszyna now held in a gallery in Košice. By the end of the seventeenth century, rustic folk elements were becoming more and more pronounced in Rusyn iconography. The icons were gradually evolving into folk paintings, rendered in a spirit of naive realism that transformed traditional themes into a kind of visual “Bible for the poor.” Typical of such icons were those from churches in Šarišský Štiavnik (mid-17th century), Hunkovce, and Venecia in the Prešov Region. An important center for folk-style icons was the workshop in the small Galician town of Rybotycze/Rybotychi, which completed works for Rusyn churches on both sides of the Carpathians during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.


The center turned iconography into a trade, although the icons were so poorly done from the artistic standpoint that they—and others of similar quality—were given the pejorative descriptor of a “Rybotychi product” (rybotyts’ka robota). This was also a period when icons painted on wood disappeared. They were replaced by icons on canvas, and even embroidered icons, both which were cheaper and more accessible for poverty-stricken villages during the ongoing wars that wracked the Subcarpathian region in the seventeenth century . In these difficult times the most popular icon themes were those that raised moral and ethical issues: “The Last Judgment” and “St. George Killing the Dragon.” Particularly important for the development of Rusyn iconography were the decisions reached at a council (synod) of the Greek Catholic Church held in Zamość, Poland (1720), which effectively defined certain distinctions between the liturgy as it was performed in Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches. The impact of decisions at Zamość was particularly noticeable in the Lemko Region and Prešov Region, where many old iconostases in Rusyn churches were being replaced with new ones in the Baroque style. Alongside iconography, the Baroque period was notable for wall paintings inside wooden churches. Their creators tried to imitate wall paintings on concrete town and city churches. Wooden church interior wall paintings have been preserved in the Subcarpathian churches of Novoselytsia, Kolodne, Oleksandrivka/Shandrovo, and Serednie Vodniane, all located in *Maramorosh county. The oldest of these are The Passion of Christ and The Last Judgment in Novoselytsia (late 17th century) by a primitivist who was obviously acquainted with Baroque painting. The wall paintings in the apse of the church in Kolodne date from the first half of the eighteenth century whereas those in the nave, completed by a painter with professional training, Antonii Vali, are decidedly Baroque in character. Similar are the interior wall paintings of the church in Serednie Vodiane, although the most complex Baroque paintings were those on the interior walls of the church at Oleksandrivka, completed in 1779 by Shtefan Terebovl’s’kyi, an artist who trained under central European masters. Here one finds professionally rendered Baroque square and alternating scroll-shaped ornamental elements (cartouches) that appear as if they are part of a continuous frieze filled with saints clothed in secular garb. By the outset of the nineteenth century, iconography in the folk style was on the decline and was gradually being replaced by late Baroque painting which, in Rusyn society, was still being commissioned by the Greek Catholic Church. The first professional artist in this category was Iosyf *Zmii-Miklovshii, the “eparchial painter” for the bishop of Prešov. Trained in Vienna, Zmii-Myklovshii painted a whole series of works for Rusyn churches throughout *Sharysh, *Zemplyn, and *Abov counties as well as the altar paintings for the Greek Catholic cathedral church in Prešov.


He was also the first painter to do commissioned portraits, genre scenes, and landscapes. However, in what was still an economically underdeveloped patriarchal Rusyn society, there were no serious material resources to sustain the development of secular art. Instead, from time to time painters like Ferdinánd Vidra (1815-1879) or Ferenc Heverdle (1841-1910) would come to the region, paint some church interiors in a late Baroque style, as well as a few landscape and genre scenes in an academic Romantic spirit, and then move on. They never had any serious ties to Rusyn society. On the other hand, there were some artists from the Carpathian region itself. They trained in Vienna or Budapest and then remained in those centers, returning to their homeland only occasionally as visitors. Typical of such figures was the well-known Hungarian artist of Rusyn origin, Ignatii *Roshkovych, who painted major frescoes in Budapest for the royal palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Roman Catholic church on Joseph’s Boulevard and in Kecskemét for the cathedral church, as well as altar paintings for the Greek Catholic cathedral church in Prešov and for churches in Snina, Krasna, and Mala Kopania. Roshkovych was also a noted academic portraitist and illustrator of the chapters dealing with Rusyn-inhabited counties that appeared in the monumental late nineteenth-century encyclopedia of the Habsburg Empire, Die österreischische Monarchie in Wort und Bild. While he created scenes typical of Rusyn life, even here Roshkovych remained an outside observer, an artist from the capital. The same could be said for other Hungarian artists of Rusyn origin, including the sculptor Ödön Szamovolszky/Edmund Samovols’kyi, and the painters Mykhaïl Hrabar and Atanasii Homichkov. It is also true that during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries several renowned artists of Magyar origin lived and worked in Subcarpathian Rus’—Simon Hollósy in Tiachovo and Imre Révész in Vynohradovo/Sevliush—but their works had no influence at all on the region’s cultural life. The profound political changes that accompanied the end of World War I also had an impact on Rusyn artistic life. Subcarpathian Rus’ and the Prešov Region became part of Czechoslovakia and Uzhhorod became the administrative center for what was a Rusyn territorial entity. The city was also gradually transformed into a cultural center that provided the stimulus for several local painters to create in 1921 a regional group of artists. The group’s initiator was a painter of the older generation, Iulii *Virag/Gyula Virágh, who managed to attract to the group Gyula Ilyász/Iulii Iatsyk (1974-1942), Károly Izai (1887-1938), Sámuel Beregi, Ievhen Kron, Andor Novák, Teodor Musson, Iosyf *Bokshai, Adal’bert *Erdeli, and Emil *Hrabovs’kyi.


Like Virag, most of these artists were of the older generation and worked in the style of academic realism, while a few others leaned toward the already developed trend of Hungarian Secessionism. Only the last three (Bokshai, Erdeli, Hrabovs’kyi) represented a new generation anxious to form a distinct artistic school, in a sense their own “Barbizon,” and not simply remain a regional group of artists dependent on cultural centers elsewhere. It was felt, moreover, that this new school should be attuned to the most contemporary European artistic currents while at the same time responding to the needs of Subcarpathia’s unfolding spiritual and cultural revival. Since the group established by Virag could not respond to such needs, it disappeared after just a few joint exhibits. The new movement that came into being, later known as the Subcarpathian School of Painting, was established by Bokshai, Erdeli, Hrabovs’kyi, and Fedor *Manailo. All of them had received professional training of European standards, and they were very aware of the current artistic trends in Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Prague, which ranged from academic formalism to impressionism, secessionism (art nouveau), the Nagybánya/Baia Mare School, post-impressionism, cubism, and expressionism. Secure in their professional knowledge, filled with strong convictions about the role of the artist in society, and having participated in numerous exhibits held in the leading European cultural centers, these Subcarpathian artists were able to become truly independent and to rise above the kind of provincial and nationalistic passions that were dividing Subcarpathian society. These relatively young but artistically mature painters decided to make use of the tools they learned in Europe and, through their own talent, to reveal the beauty of the people of Subcarpathian Rus’, to reflect in their own art the wealth of local folk mythology, and to infuse their canvases with a sense of the epic grandeur of the Carpathian landscape. They were, in fact, successful in achieving all these goals. The success of the Subcarpathian School was in part related to its members’ larger commitment to society. In 1927, they established in Uzhhorod a Public School of Painting through which they passed on their knowledge to talented Rusyn youth. The result was the formation of a second generation of painters who were representative of the Subcarpathian School, including Andrii *Kotska, Adal’bert *Borets’kyi, Ernest *Kontratovych, Zoltan *Sholtes, Andrii Dobosh (b. 1911), Ivan Erdeli (brother of Adal’bert), György Endrédy, and Vasyl’ Dvan-Sharpotokii. It is interesting to note that not one of these artists became a second-rate slavish imitator of his teachers; instead, each one followed an individual creative path while remaining within and enriching the Subcarpathian School of Painting. In 1931, the Subcarpathian School was given a formal organizational basis with the creation of the Society of Fine Arts in Subcarpathian Rus’/Obshchestvo dieiatelei izobrazitel’nykh iskusstv na Podkarpatskoi Rusi. The society made stringent demands on its members and, in particular, was critical of any work that smacked of dilettantism, salon art, or official ideology. Its exhibits contained only paintings that were carefully assessed in order to maintain a high standard of professionalism and aesthetic achievement equal to that of artistic centers in central Europe.


Contemporary populist and nationalist-minded artists and critics among Ukrainians in neighboring Galicia and the Ukrainian emigration throughout central Europe did “not take note” of the achievements of the Subcarpathian School, since the latter’s members studiously avoided creating works that rendered ethnographic scenes in a pseudo-patriotic style. The Subcarpathian School was also ignored by the contemporary Ukrainian Circle of Plastic Arts in Prague, for the most part because of the latter’s uncompromising commitment to the values of the international avant-garde. On the other hand, Czechoslovak artistic circles welcomed the work of the Subcarpathian School, and the Hungarian regime that ruled the province during World War II basically tolerated the creative independence of Subcarpathian artists. The subsequent annexation of Subcarpathian Rus’ to the Soviet Union and the establishment of a Communist regime after 1945 had a profoundly negative impact on the arts, as it did on many other spheres of life. The Communists so-called cultural revolution meant the acceptance by all creative artists of the principles of Socialist Realism, with its pseudo-positivist photographic style and posterlike didacticism. The ruling “cultural authorities” in Soviet Transcarpathia were negatively disposed to the post-impressionism of Erdeli and the expressionism of Manailo and Kontratovych. The Communists quickly abolished Subcarpathia’s Society of Fine Arts and they mocked Erdeli’s efforts to transform the pre-war Public School of Painting into an academy of art. Instead, the government created a middle-level institution, the School of Applied Arts/Uchylyshche prykladnoho mystetstva in Uzhhorod, which, thanks only to the talents of Erdeli, Bokshai, and others who taught there, maintained a high professional standard. Only through sustained efforts were the founders of the Subcarpathian School of Painting, working as they were within the new and unfavorable ideological conditions of Soviet-ruled Transcarpathia, able to preserve and to pass on to the next generation the basic elements of post-impressionist Carpathian landscape painting. As for the Subcarpathian School of Painting, it ceased to exist as such. Some of its former members left the region and settled in neighboring countries, while others, broken under the pressure of Socialist Realism, were forced to betray their own artistic principles. Nevertheless, the achievements of Rusyn painters during the 1920s-1940s somehow survived. They inspired a new generation of Subcarpathian artists, who were given an opportunity to prove themselves during the “Khrushchev Thaw” of the late 1950s and early 1960s.


They included Anton *Kashshai, Vasyl’ *Habda, Ivan Shutiev, Volodymyr *Mykyta, Mykhailo Sapatiukh (b. 1925), Iurii *Herts, Iulii Stashko (b. 1923), Pavlo Bedzyr (b. 1926), and Iosyf Harani (b. 1921). By the 1970s and 1980s, yet another current swept the Subcarpathian art world—a strongly individualistic move away from realistic depictions of everyday life toward a dynamic abstractionism. This creative process was suddenly stopped in its tracks, however, as a result of the economic crisis that swept independent Ukraine after 1991 and that brought within its wake the crass commercialization of artistic productivity. In contrast to Subcarpathian Rus’ and its center, Uzhhorod, after World War I the town of Prešov and the Prešov Region in general lost the leading role that they had previously played in Rusyn life, including Rusyn art. In fact, the only artistic phenomenon of any note was a display held in 1927 at the Greek Catholic episcopal residence in Prešov and advertised as “an exhibit of Rusyn folk culture.” In the absence of any long-term vibrant cultural activity, one can only speak of individual artists of Rusyn background who worked in the Prešov Region as well as in the Lemko Region. While they may have maintained contact with their native Rusyn environment, their works are in essence part of either Slovak or Polish artistic development. The most important figure in the artistic life of Rusyns in the Prešov Region was Dezyderii *Myllyi. Myllyi used modern artistic styles to depict a fairylike mythologized version of the Carpathian landscape. His contemporary, Mykhailo *Dubai, painted landscapes, portraits, and works on sacred themes that were stylistically influenced by Cubism. Much more diversified were the graphics, sculptures, bas-reliefs, and gobelins of Orest *Dubai. It was only during the 1990s that Rusyn artists in the Prešov Region began to function as a distinct group. With the assistance of the *Rusyn Renaissance Society/Rusyn’ska obroda, a Plenum of Rusyn Professional Artists/Plener rusyn’skŷkh profesional’nŷkh khudozhnykiv has come into being and has sponsored exhibits of several artists (Ivan Nestor *Shafranko, Andrii *Gai, Mykhal *Chabala, Nikolai Gaidosh, Mykhal Bytsko, Aleksander *Zozuliak, Pavel Mokhnats’kyi) in several towns throughout northeastern Slovakia (Prešov, Snina, Humenné), as well as neighboring Poland (Krynica). A unique and at the same time distinguished phenomenon in the artistic world of Slovakia’s Rusyns is the political caricaturist Fedor *Vitso. After their resettlement and forced deportation to western Poland and Ukraine (1945-1947) the cultural life of Lemko Rusyns lost its purpose, so that even more than in the Prešov Region one can really speak only of individual artists.


The most outstanding of these is one who might legitimately be considered the Lemko national artist, Epifanii Drovniak. Better known as *Nykyfor Krynytskii, he is a world-renowned primitivist whose works have been exhibited in numerous galleries throughout Europe. More recent self-taught painters known for their Lemko Region landscapes and genre portraits are Teodor *Kuziak and Shtefan Telep. In an entirely different category are the professional artists of Lemko background who work in the general sphere of Polish art: the modern-style iconographer Jerzy *Nowosielski and the world-class graphic artist Tyrs *Venhrynovych. Also accomplished is the Lemko folk sculptor, Mykhailo *Orysyk, who has created genre scenes from everyday life, zoomorphogical figurines, and puppets, as well as the sculptural elements that appear in church iconostases (especially the so-called Royal Doors). Bibliography: Vsevolod Sakhanev, “Karpatorusskaia ikonopis’,” Tsentral’naia Europa, IV, 10 (Prague, 1931), pp. 588-597; A. Izvorin [Evgenii Nedziel’skii], “Suchasnî rus’kî khudozhnyky,” Zoria/Hajnal, II, 1-2 (Uzhhorod, 1942), pp. 387-415 and III, 1-4 (1943), pp. 258-284; József Rácz, “Kelet és nyugat a ruszin egyházi művészetben,” Zoria/Hajnal, II, 1-2 (Uzhhorod, 1942), pp. 45-56; Alexander Frický, Ikony z východného Slovenska (Košice, 1971); Heinz Skrobucha, Icons in Czechoslovakia (London, New York, Sydney, Toronto, 1971); Hryhorii Ostrovs’kyi, Obrazotvorche mystetstvo Zakarpattia (Kiev, 1974); Romualda Grządziela, “Twórczość malarza ikon z Żohatyna,” Folia Historiae Artium, No.10 (Cracow, 1974), pp. 51-80; Stepan Hapak, Obrazotvorche mystetstvo ukraïntsiv Zakarpattia ta Priashivshchyny, 1918-1945 (Bratislava and Prešov, 1975)—reprinted in his Syla anhazhovanoho mystetstva (Bratislava and Prešov, 1983), pp. 79-174; Štefan Tkáč, Ikony zo 16.-19. storočia na severovýchodnom Slovensku (Bratislava, 1980); Romuald Biskupski, “Malarstwo ikonowe od XV do pierwszej połowy XVIII wieku na Łemkowszczyźnie,” Polska Sztuka Ludowa, XXXIX (Warsaw, 1985), pp. 153-176; Zofia Szanter, “XVII-wieczne ikony w kluczu muszyńskim,” Polska Sztuka Ludowa, XL, 3-4 (Warsaw, 1986), pp. 179-196; Janina Kłosińska, Icons from Poland (Warsaw, 1989); Bernadett Puskás, Kelet és nyugat között: ikonok a Kárpát-vidéken a 15-18. században/Between East and West: Icons in the Carpathian Region in the 15th-18th Centuries (Budapest, 1991); Romuald Biskupski, Ikony ze zbiorów Muzeum Historycznego w Sanoku (Warsaw, 1991); Vladislav Grešlík, Ikony Šarišského múzea v Bardejove/Icons of the Šariš Museum at Bardejov (Bratislava, 1994); Jerzy Czajkowski, Romualda Grządziela, and Andrzej Szczepkowski, Ikona karpacka (Sanok, 1998); Ivan Nebesnyk, Khudozhna osvita na Zakarpatti u XX stolitti: istoryko-pedahohichnyi aspekt (Uzhhorod, 2000).

Ivan POP