« 2018. #6 (144)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2018, 6 (144),  1505–1527

UDK 655.533(477)»1917/1919»


Received 21.11.2018



Filevych Markiyan, curator,

“IconArt” Gallery,

26 Virmenska Str., 79008, Lviv, Ukraine.


Abstract. The series of illustrations under the name «Ukrainian Alphabet» belongs to the notable art pieces of graphic artist Heorhij Narbut. Despite the vast research of the art of Narbut, the series was not researched as the separate art piece. Usually it was presented in the context of other art works by Heorhij Narbut. There was lack of the deep analysis of each illustration.The article presents the circumstances and history of creation, first exhibitions and further fate of the «Ukrainian Alphabet» on the basis of numerous memoirs and documents. Furthermore the article presents iconographical analysis of each illustration of the series: their plausible visual and literature sources of influence as well as the hidden meanings and interpretations. The analysis of illustrations conveys the idea that Narbut had used predominantly visual sources for his inspiration. For this purpose he used his previous works as well as the works of his colleagues from the artistic circles in St. Petersburg. In certain cases the iconography of illustration may be might be followed until the Ukrainian baroque illustration of 18th century. The research allows to understand the «Ukrainian Alphabet» not only in the context of Narbut art, but also in the general context of art at the time of its creation.

Keywords: Heorghij Narbut, book graphic arts of the early 20th centrury, illustration, «Ukrainian alphabet», «Mir iskusstva».


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