Two sharing a single roof

During festive days, National Art Museum hosts unique exhibition of around six dozen fascinating pictorial works by Maria and Nikolay Isaenok, showing the unique style of their authors

During festive days, National Art Museum hosts unique exhibition of around six dozen fascinating pictorial works by Maria and Nikolay Isaenok, showing the unique style of their authors

The couple now live in a well-built cottage, in the countryside, surrounded by forest and tranquillity. Naturally, this creates a wonderful working atmosphere. However, as Nikolay notes, much depends on the mood. Every summer, he visits his village home, from where he gains great artistic inspiration: a series of still-life works are the result, although he mostly draws bright landscapes. It is Maria who usually focuses on still-life paintings.


Maria and Nikolay are opposites in nature: she is light-hearted, with an ironic sense of humour; her husband is more serious, purposeful and hot-headed. Maria internalises her responses, while Nikolay is more open.

Visiting their cottage, I was much impressed by how different they demonstrate their pieces: Maria loves all her works, which show images of fruit, vases, a view from the window, a sitting girl, a room with a round sofa and a table. Each is permeated with her breath, attitude and tenderness. She brought out so many pictures that the room was soon filled with colour. Nikolay is more precise, taking out one at a time to show me, and placing them precisely about the room, so that each landscape can be viewed independently, with its unique motifs, colours and mood. Where Nikolay becomes involved in conversation, he brings out more works like a magician, as if trying to illustrate his thoughts. However, some time later, he hides them away again.

It’s always a challenge to describe an artistic atmosphere. However, the Isaenoks’ workshop is notable for its sense of freedom. Spending time in their studio, you start to feel their inner artistic identity: something quite special in our modern days.

Nikolay dominates in the genre of landscape painting while Maria prefers portraits and genre pictures. She is fully submerged with her surroundings, aiming to express her ideas openly and vividly, while Nikolay is more conservative but no less interesting in the stylistic peculiarities of his works.

Landscape painting is a unique genre in which artists have always demonstrated their love of nature and have often taken lengths to avoid the inclusion of human influence, cherishing the purity of man’s relationship with the wild. Mr. Isaenok is no exception, admiring the beauty of Mother Earth and aiming to reveal her secrets as a means to understanding humanity.

Landscapes show us the eternal movement of nature and space, exciting our imagination by bringing close the never-ending cycle of life. Kindness, idealism, beauty and love may seem banal but Nikolay speaks of these with dignity and deep feeling. He adheres to the traditions of realism, combined with his own, individual stance, which adds poetry and emotion.

Maria Isaenok is a more delicate artist, whose drawings distinguish shades and half-shades, colour tones and tricks of the light. She admires the world in all its features: sweet field flowers, a sparkling autumn road through a quiet forest, a girl sitting calmly by the window and the freshness of pure air. She finds her own melody, so that all her compositions are unique. Her delicate shades and tones are full of romanticism and sentimentality, disclosing refined feelings, borne of noble yet unsophisticated plots.

It’s difficult to explain the feelings aroused by these two artists’ paintings, since each has its own secrets and it’s not easy to distinguish their energy. To do so, we need to transport ourselves to another reality, entering fully into each canvas. A visit to the exhibition is sure to bring forth something to everyone’s liking.

Facts from Nikolay Isaenok’s biography:

Nikolay IsaenokNikolay was born on March 21st, 1947, in the village of Chernevichi (Borisov District in the Minsk Region). He studied at Borisov’s Art Studio and, then, at Minsk’s Art College. Since 1981, he has been a member of the Belarusian Union of Artists and is listed by the Cambridge Biographical Centre. He has taken part in exhibitions since 1975 and his pictures are kept at the National Art Museum of Belarus, Minsk’s Modern Fine Arts Museum, Mogilev’s Regional P.V. Maslenikov Art Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), museums across the CIS, the Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany), the Villanova University Art Gallery (Pennsylvania, the USA), the Belarusian Union of Artists, the Russian Union of Artists, the National Leipzig Bank (Germany) and private collections in the UK, Belarus, Germany, the USA, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, France and Russia.

Facts from Maria Isaenok’s biography:

Maria IsaenokMaria was born on October 25th, 1949, in the village of Kiseli (Gorodok District in the Vitebsk Region). She studied at Vitebsk’s Art Studio and, then, at Minsk’s Art College. Mrs. Isaenok taught drawing and draftsmanship at Dolgopolie boarding school, while working as a set designer for Belarusfilm Studio and as an interior designer for some other state establishments. Since 1986, she has been a member of the Belarusian Union of Artists and is listed by the Cambridge Biographical Centre. She has taken part in exhibitions since 1976 and her pictures are kept at the National Art Museum of Belarus, Minsk’s Modern Fine Arts Museum, Vitebsk’s Regional Art Museum, the Belarusian Union of Artists, the Russian Union of Artists and private collections in the UK, Belarus, Germany, the USA, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia.

By Victor Mikhailov
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