Kateryna Bilokur - tragedy and success 

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Kateryna Bilokur - tragedy and success

A century has passed since the birth of a great Ukrainian artist Kateryna Bilokur. Those hundred years comprised flashes of talents, successes and failures, victories and disappointments.

Kateryna Bilokur was born in a peasant family in 1900 in the village of Bohdanivka near Yahotyn. She did not have any education and had to study by herself. She mastered literacy, read a lot and her soul craved for something unattainable.

The great word 'artist' seemed to her so magic and beautiful. She said to herself

that sooner or later she would become an artist. She kept repeating that life

without art wasn't possible for her.

She had been very gifted in painting since her childhood. It was possibly the God's providence that directed her hands, taught to discern colours and group the colour range. She began painting portraits of her relatives and villagers. In her later works Kateryna would extol a flower — the beauty of the land.

Her paintings derived from the life-giving source of folk creativity based on songs, legends, tales and decorative arts. She admired the patterns on household utensils, Ukrainian clothes, towels, but her tender poetic soul was mostly charmed by flowers that blossomed around her house, in the gardens, meadows and fields. She called them my ‘children’ considering them human beings. Some pictures have her own captions: "Painted from nature by K.Bilokur".

She also called the flowers "the eyes of the Earth, the soul of the Earth". Through them she comprehended nature and deepened her knowledge about it She glorified flowers and said: "I’ll paint and paint flowers because I like to work on them so that.1 can't find words to express my feelings to them, my great love for them".

Kateryna Bilokur first exhibited her painting in Poltava and Kyiv in 1940-41. She was warmly welcome by her colleagues — Ukrainian artists and her way to recognition started.

But the Great Patriotic War began and her 11 paintings were burnt in Poltava museum. She lived through hardships and difficulties of this war. The 1950s saw another raise in her artistic career. Her works were exhibited in Moscow and other cities. The public was charmed by her pictures "Peonies", "Still life with bread", "Breakfast", "Flowers and walnuts" and others..

But a well-known painter Kateryna Bilokur had lived all her life in pain and poverty; she did not have any family or children. The grave illness tortured her, besides she had to look after her sick mother.

Great fame came later, after her death. The time has come to pay tribute: her works are exhibited in museums in Ukraine and abroad, a picture gallery bearing her name was open in Yahotyn, a street was named after her in Kyiv. A lot of books devoted to her life and works are published in many languages. The Bilokur Prize Fund was founded for praising the most talented artists and painters.

Answer the questions:

- Why is K.Bilokur considered to be a talented artist?

- Where and when was she born?

- What was her lifetime dream?

- What inspired her in her work?

- What did she consider to be the beauty and soul of the Earth?

- When was she truly recognised by the public?

- How is she remembered nowadays?

Find the places in the text that express:

- - the artist's desire to become a painter;

- - how she extols the flowers in her painting;

- the ways of paying her tribute.


English painting

(The 17th – 19th Centuries)

1. Answer the questions:

2. Are you a great art lover?

3. Do you often visit art galleries?

4. What do you feel when you see a masterpiece?

5. Do you have the ability to see and enjoy the beauty of nature (masterpieces of

art, the beauty of poetry, dance, music)?

6. What is the main aim of art?

7. What role does art play in your life?


Pre-reading task

- Where can you see the paintings and pictures of great artists?

- What galleries and museums of fine arts do you know in Kyiv?

- Have you visited them?

- What museums in London do you know?

- Would you like to visit them?



It is in London naturally that the lover of paintings has the best opportunity of visiting galleries.

The idea of the Tate Gallery took shape in 1890. In that year Henry Tate's gift of sixty-five paintings and two sculptures, almost all of them the work of Victorian contemporaries, was offered to the nation, but the gallery had still to be built to house them. It was built on the north bank of the Thames at the expense of Sir Henry Tate. When opened seven years later, the Tate Gallery consisted of eight rooms, and was intended as a collection of contemporary British painting only; it was, moreover, a mere annex to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square.

The Tate Gallery has become the national collection of British painting of all periods, and in addition to this the national collection of modern foreign paintings, and the national collection of modern sculpture, both British and foreign.

The National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, is open free to public. It was only started in 1824. Now it has a splendid collection of oil paintings by artists of all the important British and European schools of art, nearly every great painter being represented. It includes, for example, 19 Rembrandt's paintings. The gallery covers more than two thousand pictures.

Post-reading tasks

Answer the questions.

The Tate Gallery

- When did the idea of the Tate Gallery take shape?

- What did Sir Henry Tate offer to the nation as a gift?

- Where was the gallery built and at whose expense?

- When was the Tate Gallery opened?

- How many rooms did it consist of?

- What collection did it have at that time?

- What collection does it have now?

The National Gallery

- When was it founded?

- Where is it situated?

- What collection does it include?

- How many Rembrandt's paintings does it have?

- How many pictures does it cover?

Complete the sentences.

1. It is in London that the lover of art...

2. Sir Henry Tate offered to the nation a gift of...

3. The Tate Gallery was built...

4. The Tate Gallery consisted of...

5. The Tate Gallery has become the national collec­tion of...

6. The National Gallery is in...

7. It was founded in...

8. It has a splendid collection of...

9. The Gallery covers more...


British artists

Among the best painters represented in the Tate Gallery are Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Constable, Turner etc.

William Hogarth (1697-1764) is one of the greatest English painters. In his pictures he reflected social life and in many of them the beauty of his painting was accompanied by satire. The "Marriage-a-la-Mode", "The Election Entertainment" were painted to show life very satirically.

In 1742, Hogarth painted "The Graham Children" where he brilliantly used his delicate colours to show the charm of childhood.

John Constable (1776-1837) was fond of the place where he was born and spent his childhood on the River Slour. He saw very beautiful woods, greens in nature and, being very talented, reflected nature's colours in his sketches which he then composed into pictures. He painted the landscape without any changes and the trees or other objects were in his paintings very true to life. He is said to be the first landscape painter in England.

William Turner (1775-1851) began his activity in art as a watercolour master. Light and atmosphere was his characteristic feature. Turner is a super colourist. In 1805, he painted "The Shipwreck". He showed a terrible disaster at sea. Green was a colour that Turner particularly disliked.

In "Snow Storm" he reflected with the help of snow the idea of survival and even in our days it looks very prophetic. It is considered one of his most original paintings. He studied colour very seriously and is said to have anticipated the art of Impressionists and abstract painters of the 20th century. In his "Rain, Steam and Speed" (1844) he worked much on the colour interrelation.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was a very lyrical painter who successfully connected man and nature. A very strong psychologist, he painted mostly women on the background of a scenery. He liked blue colours best of all. His portraits are optimistic and the light and shade of colour are in full harmony with the lines.

Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) is one of the outstanding British portraitists who had an important influence on his contemporaries. By the age of twenty he had set himself up as a portraitist in his native town. In 1749, he went to Rome and stayed there three years. He returned to London and within a short time had achieved a considerable success. In 1755, for example he did 120 portraits.

His sitters included the socially prominent people of the time and when the Royal Academy was founded in 1768, he naturally became its first president. His portraits are effective because their expression is related to the type of sitter. His colours are difficult to judge today because they were not scientifically applied, so many paintings have cracked and faded.

Post-reading tasks


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