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Meet Leopold Levytskyi!

Viktoriia Dmytryk

Author

Do your weekends miss the usual visits to museums and galleries? Ours too!

So let's abstract from everyday worries and forget about everything in the exhibition halls. Such moments alone with ourselves and art, like nothing else, force us to change our view of familiar things and it seems that the same Muse who visited the artist in moments of long-awaited creative inspiration comes to us, and the same paints from the canvases come to our new day!

Taking care of you, we offer a quarantine-adapted "tour" of Leopold Levytskyi's life and creative path, because we are sure that the pleasure from it will be enough for more than one day of typical Lviv weather :)

Leopold Levytskyi became one of the key figures in shaping the face of modern Ukrainian graphics, his artworks of the 1930s became the property of the avant-garde, and an active social position affected the development of Ukrainian art in the second half of the XIX century.

In addition, the artist's work is rich in numerous experiments in etching, linocut, lithography, monotype… As an artist, he tried to test his strength in different techniques, striving to reach the pinnacle of skill, and although, above all, we know Leopold Levytskyi as an graphic artist and painter, he was also a sculptor .

Leopold Levytskyi was born on August 7, 1906 in Burdiakivtsi village in the Ternopil region. He was the only child in the family, he was loved, taken care of in every possible way and considered a top priority to give a good education. From his mother he inherited a love and talent for beauty. At a very early age, when, studying at the Chortkiv gymnasium, the artist discovered the artworks of Yan Mateiko, after that it became obvious that Leopold Levitskyi would dream of combining his life.

But it was impossible to implement this decision quickly and without difficulties! In 1925, after graduating from high school, the future artist embodied the aspirations of his father, who saw him as a lawyer, and applied for admission to Jagiellonian University to the Faculty of Law.

No wonder they say that their fate can not be avoided, so despite the wish of his father, Leopold Levytskyi month later took the documents and passed the exams to study at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, first at the department of sculpture, and then the department of painting, which is already the third year started his passion for graphics.

Curiosity about everything new and interest in learning about the world, these traits best characterized the essence of the young artist:

In Krakow, the artist got acquainted with the paintings of Renaissance geniuses – Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Santi, Sandro Botticelli, who made an indescribable impression on him.

While studying in Paris in 1930-31, he immersed himself in a more tumultuous artistic and political life than ever before.

Thus, in his early work, inspired by the events of the 1930s in France, Leopold Levytskyi often turned to political topics. While still a student, he became interested in left-wing ideas and joined the "Zhyvi" society, which prepared the ground for the creation of the Krakow Group art association.

In 1932, the artist boldly presented his exposing, full of political ideas works at the final student exhibition at the Academy. Levytskyi and some other students were arrested for violating academic regulations: imprisonment lasted two months, the artist was expelled from the academy on October 28, 1932 with a ban on renewal for 4 semesters. But fate made its adjustments so that Leopold Levytskyi received his diploma only thirty years later, visiting a colleague at the Academy...

The second half of the 1930s marks the beginning of a period that can be called a turning point in the artist's life, and no, this time is no longer framed by political activity or any radical changes in search of creative realization. It is about the romantic story of Leopold Levytskyi and Genia Nadler.

This story is filled with tender feelings, secret meetings against relatives! The girl's family was not happy with the "political past" of the potential son-in-law, while the Levitskyi`s family did not want to have a daughter-in-law with Jewish roots. But, despite all the obstacles that arose in their way, Lolo and Genia, as they called each other, married in 1937 – the Nadler and Levytskyi families had the tact to understand and bless the lovers for a happy future.

And so it happened; the couple lived a really happy family life! For Leopold Levytskyi, his wife became a reliable friend, muse and objective critic of all his artworks.

The events of World War II forced the young Levytskyi`s family to live for four years in an evacuation in Uzbekistan. Even in this difficult time, Leopold the artist not only didn`t abandon his creativity, but on the contrary used every opportunity to take a brush or pencil, so a series of drawings was created on Asian motifs, in which he depicted locals, soldiers, everyday life.

In 1945 L. Levytskyi returned to Lviv, in 1946 the family settled in an apartment at 10 Ustyianovycha Street .

Contemporaries of the artist remember his extraordinary temperament, charisma, sociability, he, like a magnet, was able to attract people. Thanks to these features of Leopold Levytskyi, his apartment became a meeting place and, in a sense, the center of Lviv's creative and intellectual elite.

What is worth is that among the guests of the Levytskyi apartment you could often see Ariadna Trush, the eldest daughter of the famous artist Ivan Trush, who was Genia's best friend, and a close friend of the family and like-minded person was the talented sculptor Teodoziia Bryzh.

The Lviv period in the works of Leopold Levytskyi is the brightest and most diverse. Here he experimented a lot, turning to painting and new graphic techniques.

Regarding the special style of the artist, the compiler of the book "Leopold Levytskyi. Memories of the artist" Liudmyla Pavlyshyn wrote: "Deep down the artist remained a supporter of avant-garde and expressionism."

The period of the 1950's and 1960's was marked for Leopold Levytskyi by his perfect mastery of the technique of monotype, in which he made many portraits, urban landscapes, and animalistic motifs.

No less interesting, but a little-known page of the artist's creative biography is a book illustration. In the 1950s and 1960s, he collaborated with various publishers, creating covers and illustrating works of world and Ukrainian classics, fairy tales and children's stories.

After 1968, Leopold Levytskyi became interested in lithography. Almost the best artworks with autobiographical motives were created in this technique.

Undoubtedly, the most numerous group of works by Leopold Levytskyi are artworks made in the easel technique of linocut. These are portraits, animalistic motives, and humorous life plots. It was in this technique that the artist often created postcards that he sent to friends to inform about important events in their family or simply to congratulate on the occasion of the holiday.

Leopold Levytskyi's creative talent, as a person full of special energy, wit and subtle humor, was the ability to convey emotion to his works, so much so that sometimes it seems that the image comes to life and reproduces the script. Not every artist manages to evoke such empathy and attract the audience!

It should be added that the artist had a deep understanding of the human image and essence. Take a closer look at which graphic works. Have you noticed how in detail he conveys the emotional state of his characters?

Leopold Levytskyi's creative path was extremely effective. The artist tried his hand at various techniques, reflected dissimilar plots and invested unique emotions in his works… His drawings, linocuts, illustrations, paintings, a wealth of themes and sources of inspiration – from the Carpathian Mountains to the sands of Central Asia continue to impress and the most demanding connoisseur of art today.

In 1974, a year after the artist's death, the first exhibition of his works took place in Lviv, because, unfortunately, it so happened that during his life Leopold Levytskyi had no personal exhibition.

According to Genia Levytska's will, a museum was created in their family apartment at 10 Ustyianovycha Street, where you can now not only enjoy works of art and view up to fifty books designed by Leopold Levytskyi, but also see the original interior and personal belongings and also feel the mood of that environment where such original, unparalleled artworks were created.

Later, in 1996, the artist's museum opened in his native village Burdiakivtsi.

A moment of interactivity: the museum keeps and, moreover, the artist's printing press still works. Visitors have the opportunity to make their own postcard from cliché copies of Leopold Levytskyi. Joining the process of creating beauty has never been so easy!

Almost all of Levytskyi's creative legacy, more than 7,000 artworks, most of which are graphics, replenishes the collections of the A.Sheptytskyi National Museum in Lviv, including 100 paintings created in Lviv. The artist's artworks also are the decorations of many private art collections.

The artist has forever entered the history of Ukrainian art as an unsurpassed master of printmaking, and the life and career of Leopold Levytskyi successfully illustrates the expression "Eternal Art", because where else can it be felt, if not in the exhibition halls of the artist's memorial museum between bright and emotional pictures.

Free entrance with Lviv City Card.

Leopold Levytskyi Art Memorial Museum

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Do you want to know more about Lviv artists? Then we are pleased to introduce you to:

Ivan Trush and his artworks

Oleksa Novakivskyi and his artworks

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Нажаль, під час відправлення щось пішло не так. Спробуйте знову.