Vankovich’s pictures collected in single album

Two ancient Minsk buildings, in Parnikovaya and Internatsionalnaya streets, remember the 19th century artist, who was a friend of Adam Mickiewicz, as does Moniuszko House in Engels Street

By Victor Andreev

Sadly, Belarus (where Valenty Vankovich was born) lacks any of his original pictures, although the National Art Museum is currently exhibiting Wojciech Puslowski’s portrait by the great artist — on loan from the Lithuanian Art Museum. Other pictures by Vankovich are on show in Russian, Polish, Lithuanian and French museums and are now available to view in the latest release from the Belarus Publishing House: Famous Artists from Belarus. The new edition in the series is devoted to the prominent painter.

“We aim to show works by masters born in our country in the context of modern culture. They worked abroad and are sometimes viewed as being representatives of Russian or Polish art. However, in reality, they combined several traditions, while remaining our countrymen — as confirmed by their art,” asserts the Director of the National Art Museum, Vladimir Prokoptsov, who authored and co-ordinated the project. He tells us that another album is soon to be released — featuring paintings by Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya.

The edition devoted to Vankovich has been compiled by the Head of Minsk’s Vankovich House (a branch of the National Art Museum), Natalia Sycheva. She notes that the painter was at the peak of his artistry while residing in Minsk. “In February 1829, he was working at two studios: in Small Slepyanka and in the city centre, alongside his friend, Czeslaw Moniuszko,” she explains.

Vankovich drew portraits of his relatives and friends, and had an ‘appointment’ by the St. Petersburg Emperor Academy of Arts. Ten years later, he emigrated from Minsk to Paris, where he died on May 14th, 1842, in the arms of his friend, Adam Mickiewicz. His remains are kept at Montmartre.

The unique album is to be presented in Minsk and Berezino — where the artist was born.

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