Carved wooden fairy tales

The 8th open air wood carvers’ festival has concluded in Grodno
The 8th open air wood carvers’ festival has concluded in Grodno. Traditionally, it took place on the Korobchitsy estate not far from the city. This year’s participants included wood carvers from Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. The new wooden artworks will decorate the agricultural tourist facility.

Craftsmen create wooden masterpieces

A figure of a king and a queen standing by the throne is the most remarkable. The sculpture will be installed at the entrance, and everyone will be able to take a photo with the first kings of our country. Valentin Bogdevich, Korobchitsy’s staff wood carver, explains the idea of the artwork, “Creating this sculpture, we were inspired by an article by professor Adam Maldis published in the SB newspaper back in 2009. The author posed the question of whether the 800th anniversary of our country’s name, as recorded in a printed source, should be celebrated. …The first mention of ‘Belarusian’ relates to the coronation of King Kalmen in 1217. He was awarded the title of ‘king of Belarusians’, the author of the article states. Consequently, we decided to mark the anniversary in our work. The wooden sculpture of the king and the queen is very impressive. Valentin Bogdevich made the king, while the lifelike queen was created by people’s master of Belarus, Anatoly Turkov. “The sculpture has been made of oak. In the past, masters who worked with this sort of wood would be paid using a mark-up factor. It was a hard job, and we finished it within five working days. Normally, it takes a month to accomplish an artwork like that. The craftsmen are highly experienced and did their best to meet the deadlines. Carving the hands was the greatest challenge. The queen will be holding a symbol of her power, a forged crown and other metal decorations will embellish her head. The king will be holding a sword.”

This year’s open air festival was dedicated to folk fairy tales of various countries. The Sorcerer Chernomor, the Water Spirit Vodyanoy, little Nils with a goose, 12 raven brothers, the Town Musicians of Bremen and other magical characters were the highlights of the event. ‘We grew up in the USSR, so we remember and love Soviet animated films and good fairy tales,’ says Lithuanian craftsman Antanas Lastauskas. ‘The tale by the Grimm brothers about 12 brothers who had been transformed into ravens by their ill-tempered step mother teaches us to love one’s family. My colleague Juozas Videika made characters from the tale of the Musicians of Bremen.’

Master Valery Kiselev’s artwork is also impressive. He came from Russia’s Vladimir, travelling more than 1,300 km to meet his colleagues from other countries. Both children and adults will love his character Nils with his faithful companion, Martin the Goose, fighting rats. A sculpture featuring the Ukrainian tale of the Wolf and the Dog who celebrated a human wedding is really fabulous. Many remember the animated film telling the tale. Two Ukrainian master craftsmen, Vladimir Kindrachuk and Yuri Lazechko, made the sculpture representing a bench with the inscription ‘Come over here, if you wish…’

By Tatiana Kondratieva

Amazingly enchanting form of travel

Belarus’ National Art Museum invites visitors to its series of lectures as part of the Replica of Beauty exhibition each Wednesday

Along with museum staff, visitors can go on a sightseeing holiday to the Ancient World countries — learning how the inventive Egyptians, Greek and Sumerians lived, how their civilisations changed after Christianity was introduced and how the art of the Renaissance contributed to reviving antiquity.

The Replica of Beauty exhibition displays casts of ancient artefacts created in the Louvre’s workshop in the mid-20th century. In 1976, the wife of the famous artist Fernand Leger, Nadia Khodasevich-Leger, generously presented over a hundred full-sized copies of sculptures to Belarus’ National Art Museum (then known as the BSSR State Art Museum). The museum’s lecture programme has become a wonderful opportunity not only to see masterpieces of world significance in Minsk but also to learn more of their history in the form of exciting public lectures.

By Alexander Pimenov

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