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Выставка белорусского художника М. Карпука в Бресте. Фото Е. Гараевой. БЕЛТА
Выстаўка беларускага мастака М. Карпука ў Брэсце. Фота К. Гараевай. БЕЛТА
The exhibition of the Belarusian artist M. Karpuk in Brest. Photo by E. Garayeva. BELTA
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Выставка «Марк Шагал: жизнь и любовь» в Минске. Фото О. Манчук. БЕЛТА
Выстаўка «Марк Шагал: жизнь и любовь» в Мінске. Фота А. Манчук. БЕЛТА
The exhibition "Marc Chagall: life and love" in Minsk. Photo by O. Manchuk. BELTA
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М. Савицкий - народный художник СССР и Беларуси, Герой Беларуси. Фото Н. Петрова. БЕЛТА
М. Савіцкі- народны мастак СССР і Беларусі,Герой Беларусі. Фота М. Пятрова. БЕЛТА
M. Savitsky - People's Artist of the USSR and Belarus, Hero of Belarus. Photo by N. Petrov. BELTA
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Выставка "Черная быль" М. Савицкого. Минск. Фото Г. Семенова. БЕЛТА
Выстаўка "Чорная быль" М. Савіцкага . Мінск. Фота Г. Сямёнава. Белта
The exhibition "Chernaya byl" of M. Savitsky. Minsk. Photo by G. Semenov. BELTA

Fine Art

The illustrations in Gospels dating back to the second half of 13th – 14th centuries show us that the art of manuscript illumination flourished in the Belarusian lands. Belarusian icon painting and book miniature developed under the strong influence of Byzantine art and folklore traditions. Miniatures of Orshansky (13th century) and Mstizhsky (14th century) Gospels prove the high level of development of the art of illuminating manuscript books. The cross of Euphrosyne of Polotsk made by goldsmith Lazar Bohsha in 1161 is a remarkable specimen of ancient Belarusian enamel art. Since the 16th century under the influence of Western European art, icon images become more voluminous. The icon and portrait painting developed. During the 14th – 16th centuries the basic types, genres and techniques of the graphic art were formed. The golden age of Belarusian engraving (xylography and copper plate engraving) in the 17th – 18th centuries is closely associated with the names of Maxim and Vasily Voschanka, F. Angileiko, Alexander and Leonty Tarasevich.

Medieval sculpture developed under the influence of Western European plastics and stylistics. There were created original works of applied and decorative art (Slutsk belts, ceramic tiles by S. Polubes, Korelichi tapestries, Urechche-Naliboki glass). The unique type of fretwork was formed.

The most renowned Belarusian painters of the period of 19th – the beginning of 20th centuries are W. Wankowicz, Goravsky brothers, J. Pen, V. Byalynitsky-Birulya, C. Soutine and others.

On the back of public enthusiasm provoked by the October Revolution of 1917, there are rapid changes in the visual arts. For a short period of time, the city of Vitebsk became the center of the art of the revolutionary avant-garde due to the famous figures of modernism: M. Chagall, K. Malevich, V. Ermolaeva, L. Lisitsky.

The spectrum of fine art of the 1920s was quite wide: from expressionism and suprematism to orthodox realism. The search for the roots of national and new means of expression in creativity was on first place in the creative work by M. Filippovich, M. Sevruk, M. Stanuta, Y. Drozdovich, A. Grube. In the prewar period a big contribution to the development of the Belarusian art was made by the artists I. Ahremchik and E. Tihonovich, sculptors Z. Azgur and A. Bembel, graphic artists A. Astapovich, S. Judovin and E. Minin etc.

The World War II, which took the lives of many talented painters and sculptors, has become a harsh lesson for Belarus: almost all paintings, sculptures, graphics, cultural and art monuments were ruined. The theme of the World War II becomes one of the leading in Belarusian art. The desire for documentary, retelling of events are the characteristic features of the art of the 1940–1950-ies. The revision of figurative and plastic means of art, the development of a new social and moral ideal begins in the 1960s.This is reflected in the works by M. Savitsky, B. Arakcheev, V. Gromyko, M. Dantsig, L. Schemelev, V. Tsvirko, G. Vaschenko, V. Stelmashonok; graphic artists A. Kashkurevich, G. Poplavsky and others. 

In the end of the 1980s Belarusian art becomes more dynamic and diverse in subjects; such art forms as art design, photography and computer graphics gain popularity. Exhibition activities are intensified, joint art events with foreign artists are held. A wide appeal to the folk traditions in close connection with the modern pictorial language exist in the works by A. Sledovic, E. Los, V. Savich, V. Slavuk, V. Basalyga. In the pictures of the 1990s. much more picturesque freedom, flight of fancy, search for new means of expression (V. Olshevsky, N. Opiok, N. Seleschuk, V. Tovstik).

Sustained interest remains in the purely pictorial values of the painting (P. Parshin, A. Marochkin, A. Buschik, V. Kozhuh, A. Kuznetsov, A. Ksendzov and other ones). Traditions of avant-garde of the beginning of the 20th century are developed by the representatives of the Vitebsk art school: L. Rusova, N. Zaloznaya, I. Tishin, A. Zadorin and others.

The main direction of the development of sculpture is connected with its monumental forms. A number of monumental sculptural and architectural complexes were created in this period: "Khatyn", "Mound of Glory", "Brest Hero-Fortress", etc. Along with the masters of the older generation, they work fruitfully in the 1960–1970s. their young colleagues: L. Gumilevsky, A. Shaternik, S. Vakar, I. Misko, S. Selikhanov, and others.

The modern Belarusian sculpture is stylistically diverse. This direction of creative searches is represented by a whole range of artists of different generations working in monumental, easel, memorial and park plastic. The most famous sculptors are A. Artimovich, A. Botvinenok, V. Slobodchikov, A. Finsky, A. Metlitsky, S. Gorovaya, S. Gorbunova, A. Dranets, S. Bondarenko, V. Zhbanov.

Belarusian graphic artists S. Balenok, V. Lukashik, Y. Yakovenko, M. Barzdyko, V. Vishnevsky demonstrated the high professionalism and bright graphic solutions. In the mid-1990's - early 2000's there were well-known young graphic artists: P. Tatarnikov, Y. Alesevich, R. Sustov, A. Basalyga and other.

Many representatives of the Belarusian graphics school  receive positive feedback from art historians, winning diplomas at book fairs and major art exhibitions. Belarusian poster artists - V. Tsesler, S. Voichenko, K. Hotanovsky, A. Novozhilov, D. Sursky and others received a number of international awards.

The applied and decorative art has its own style and combines traditions and innovations. Its development began in the 1960's and continues to evolve consistently further. In the sphere of tapestry there are such well-known artists, authors of the famous tapestries as V. Bartlova, A. Kischenko, N. Pilusina. An invaluable contribution into the creation of highly-artistic ceramic ware was made by N. Bairachny, A. Zimenko, T. Sokolova, V. Prieshkina, T. Vasuk. The glassworks "Neman", the oldest one in Belarus, is the center of coloured art glass production.

In the 21st century the art school of Belarus has proven its ability to develop, preserved its integrity, continued to master the progressive elements of world culture, and expand the genre-specific spectrum. Belarusian fine art is rich, diverse and well-known abroad, which is proved by the participation in numerous international exhibitions and projects and by prestige diplomas.

Useful links

Belarusian State Academy of Arts

Belorusskij soyuz hudozhnikov (Belarusian Association of Artists)


Art Gallery of G. Vaschenko

Art Museum in Vitebsk

Marc Chagall Museum

Memorial Museum of Z. Azgur

Mogilev Regional Art Museum named after P.V. Maslenikov

Muzej «Prostranstvo Haima Sutina» (Museum «Area of Chaim Soutine»)

Muzei spasennykh khudozhestvennykh tsennostey (Museum of saved art treasures), Brest

Muzej sovremennogo izobrazitel'nogo iskusstva (Museum of Contemporary Fine Art)

National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus

OJSC «Glassworks «Neman»

Vetka Museum of Old Believers and Belarusian Traditions named after F.R. Shklyarov

V.K. Byalynitski-Birulia Art Museum in Byelynichi