Karazin University has held festivities to honor the prominent artist and Karazin University alumnus Henryk Siemiradzki.
The participants of the events were the Consul General of Poland in Kharkiv, Stanisław Łukasik, the Advisor to the Head of Kharkiv Regional State Administration for Legal Affairs, Serhii Storozhenko, the Chairman of the Board of Kharkiv Club General, Valentyn Holik, a member of the Board of Overseers of Karazin University, the Chairman of the Board of Kharkiv regional organization of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, people’s artist of Ukraine, Viktor Kovtun, the Director of Kharkiv Art Museum, Valentyna Myzgina, the Head of the Division of Ukrainian and Russian Art of Kharkiv Art Museum, Olha Denysenko, Karazin University Prezident Vil Bakirov, vice-presisents, deans, faculty and students.
The opening of the memorial plaque to Henryk Siemiradzki, whose author sculptor Oleksandr Ridnyi, took place in the morning. The sculpture is located near the front of the building where the library holdings of Karazin University are kept.
Mr. Bakirov stressed the exclusiveness of Siemiradzki’s figure, which is now becoming known to the public at large, “Henryk Siemiradzki holds a special place in the pleiad of prominent figures of the past associated with Karazin University and known for their significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian and world culture, science and education. He is one of the most famous artists of the XIX century. The artist’s pictures can be found in the collections of numerous world museums.”
A native of Kharkiv region, Henryk Siemiradzki was a Pole by birth. Therefore, his figure is of great significance in Polish culture, too. “In my opinion, the Polish community has not done enough justice to the artist’s work. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he did not live in Poland. Yet, he is undoubtedly a prominent man of art for my people. He was a citizen of Europe because his life and professional activity were associated with different countries, namely: Ukraine, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden. Today, the entire world recognizes Henryk Siemiradzki as one of the most prominent artists of the XIX century,” pointed out Mr. Łukasik.
Karazin University opened Henryk Siemiradzki Art Gallery. Its exhibits are paintings by contemporary artists executed in a realistic manner and depicting different themes.
“The idea to create an art gallery at the University emerged after the charity auction University. Art. Peace held to support the wounded military soldiers from the ATO zone who are being treated in the military hospital. The auction participants decided to present the purchased paintings to the University. It suggested an idea to revive the connection between art and the University as Karazin University used to have the Museum of Fine Arts,” said Mr. Bakirov.
Mr. Kovtun outlined the milestones of the artist’s life and creative path, “After the brilliant defense of his diploma Henryk Siemiradzki received a state-funded six-year trip to Europe, and moved to Italy as a result. The trip became a turning point in his work. It is in Italy that the artist created most of his paintings, the main of which are Christ and Sinner, which won him the title of academician of painting, and Leading Light of Christianity, which made him professor. Henryk Siemiradzki was reasonable and thorough in creating his works, the traits he acquired when receiving classical university education.”
“Henryk Siemiradzki’s life was closely related to Sloboda Ukraine region where he spent his childhood and youth, and developed as a personality. It is in Ukraine that his desire to depict an idyll was shaped, which can be tracedd in his future works,” noted Ms. Denysenko.
Ms. Myzgina emphasized the long-term connection between Karazin University and art, “It is Karazin University that 210 years ago became the city center of development of fine art and collecting. Vasyl Karazin’s efforts brought the first collection of paintings to Kharkiv. I am convinced that the opening of the Art Gallery named after the world-known master of painting at Karazin University will be a good start for holding different art exhibitions.”
The opening of the memorial plaque and Henryk Siemiradzki Art Gallery were made possible by the joint efforts of the Board of Kharkiv Club General, Karazin University Administration, Kharkiv organization of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Kharkiv. The events are tribute to the memory of the prominent master of painting who has already become a symbol of true beauty and art.