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Abstract nostalgia by Anatoliy Kryvolap

He must be one of the most famous Ukrainian painters, not only in his motherland but also around the world – a master that creates figurative paintings on the verge of abstraction. His works fascinate from first sight, depictured landscapes trigger memories and flashbacks. His name is Anatoliy Kryvolap, a member of the talented Ukrainian art community.

Anatoliy Kryvolap was born on September 11th in 1946 in Yahotyn, Kyiv Oblast. His career as a painter did not start for several more years, because of the stereotypical influence of society on his dreams. To be a painter means instability and unprofitability. However, his excitement about the surrounding world and desire to depict what he sees made him start to create again.

At thirty he graduated from Kyiv State Institute of Arts with painting as his main major. In the 90s, he became an active member of the “Picturesque Reserve.” a group of painters that was of great significance to the contemporary history of Ukrainian art, whose major goal was to liberate the domain of paintings from all elements of ordinary reality.

“Individuality is best exposed in radicalness” – Anatoliy Kryvolap

Kryvolap was fascinated by impressionism and concentrated his attention on creating within this art style. Drawing landscapes helped him to establish strong relationships with colors. He wanted to find control over colors since, in his perception, they create strong and open emotions and bring some contrast to the urban and dull environment.

“Here you are sitting in a gray room – it’s a feeling, and imagine that the room is bright blue or bright red. This has a tremendous effect on emotional state, on perception,” he said in an interview with His experiments lasted for 20 years and the progress of his relationship with colors can be easily noticed by comparing his painting at the beginning of his career to his contemporary work. 

His Ukrainian motif cycle displays wonderful places all over the country. Kryvolap was also fascinated by horses, explaining his obsession with the following: “Horse is a perfect creature, both strong and sculpturesque. My intuition senses this perfection as a mirage, as a vision, as a dream.” The paintings seen below are a good example of Kryvolap’s fascination.

Another painting that belongs to the Ukrainian motif set is Balaklava (under The Crimea), which was drawn in 2009. Small details, and bright contrast of the colors, that trigger vivid emotions the second your eyes meet the canvas. Even though the elements in the paintings are not strictly outlined, it is possible to see objects and recognize their features.  

“Silence is when eternity touches prosiness” – Anatoliy Kryvolap

Another fascinating collection called “Silence” captivates the attention with the cold colors of some of the pictures in contrast with the brighter landscapes. The main message of this collection is how a person, who lived their whole life in a city,  moved to the countryside to discover the beauty of Ukrainian landscapes.

What does it make you feel? Does it make you feel lonely, depressed, miserable, or sorrowful? Does it make you feel the power of solitude, peace, and joy of silence? With these paintings, he brings up memories of his childhood spent at his grandma’s village. It reminds him of  the positive adventure he experienced while being away from car traffic noise and the sleepless city.

Kryvolap is one of those artists who never stops developing and researching how his imagination can be transferred into art in the best way. He never painted to order, since for Kryvolap it is important to display only those things that he finds significant to be depicted. The painter shared that he is planning to destroy his old works, which he called “laboratory investigations” and leave only those that were created after detailed research of the color and correlation between different palettes. 

The influence of Kryvolap’s artworks is strong, especially for those who have a personal relation to Ukraine and its culture. The bright colors trigger an emotional connection people have with the place they were born and raised. Lastly, the way his vision can surface positive emotions in all of us cannot be ignored.