« 2021. # 4 (160)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2021. № 4 (160), 909—917




HERII Oksana

  • Ph. D in Art Studies,
  • Senior Researcher at the Art Studies Department,
  • The Institute of Ethnology of the National
  • Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • 15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.
  • Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. Introduction. In the last quarter of the 19th century in the artistic life of Western Ukraine arose the question of finding new forms of visual expression of nationally oriented ideas. The art of church interior decorations was not left out of this main trend. The artists had to overcome the inertia of using the motifs of classical ornament and look for other patterns and sources of inspiration to bring their work in line with the new demands of society.

Problem statement. It is necessary to trace the origin and explain the selection of prototypes to create new forms of ornamental paintings in the interiors of Ukrainian churches in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, which were made during the last decade of the 19th — the first decade of the 20th centuries.

Methods. For a fuller and deeper understanding of the ornaments creation process in the field of sacred art, we prefer a comparative method among traditional methods of art history research, because this method allows to see changes and differences in more contrast, to evaluate innovations more objectively.

Results. Well-preserved ensembles of the church decoration in the villages of Lviv region (Baryliv, Volya Homuletska, Staryi Vytkiv, Byshiv, Nemyliv, Pidberiztsi) and Ivano-Frankivsk region (Pistyn, Iltsi) are considered. Based on the analysis of their ornaments, it was found that the sources of visual forms in decorative art of the turn of the 19th—20th centuries originate from the Middle Ages and focused mainly on the heritage of illustration of Christian manuscripts of both Churches: Western and Eastern. Rarely samples for new compositions were mosaic motifs taken from the preserved Byzantine monuments of Rome, Ravenna, and Jerusalem.

Сonclusions. Artists of the turn of the 19th—20th centuries used the medieval ornaments as the samples because their origin lay near to the origins of Ukrainian own cultural tradition. It was a necessary step in the process of legitimizing the aesthetic value of newly introduced motifs, which allowed the further flowering of ornament at a new stage of art development — the Art Nouveau style.

Keywords: ornament, church interior, mural, neo-Byzantine style, Secession, Ukrainian modern.

Received 3.08.2021


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