The Museum of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya
The Museum of Vitold Kaetanovich Byalynitsky-Birulya was open on December, 24, 1982. This is the first memorial museum in the republic, dedicated to the artist’s life and creative activity.
Since April 15, 2013 the Museum of Vitold Kaetanovich Byalynitsky-Birulya has been closed for repairs, after which re-exposition will be held. The renovated museum is planned to keep the exposition series representing the artistic legacy of the master, as well as leave a memorial section. However, the exhibition space will be re-interpreted: interactivity and new museum technologies are basic points.
The Museum address: 212030, Mogilev, Lenin str., 37
The house in which the artist was born in a small village Krynki near Belynichi of Mogilev Guberniya in 1872 was not preserved. So, the decision was taken to open the Museum in Mogilev and place it in a stone two-story mansion with a mansard, monument of the civil architecture of the 17th century in Lenin str., 37.
By the time of the opening of the branch the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus had nearly five hundred works of art of People’s Artist of BSSR and RSFSR Byalynitsky-Birulya in its funds. The director of the State Art Gallery, Honoured Artist of BSSR Helena Vasileva Aladova collected the works of art with great diligence and love. This collection is a set of the outstanding landscape painter’s works which are exclusive in their fullness and artistic value. Besides, the artist’s widow Helena Alekseevna donated many documentary materials, photos and personal things, earlier found in “Sea Gull”, the house-studio of the artist on the shore of Udomlya lake: painter’s sketchbox easel, palette, brushes; hunter’s gun that is passion to hunt; furniture made in Abramtsevo studio; the unique letter of I.E. Repin, in which the great Russian painter wrote about its delight by works of the young landscape painter, to the museum. All this allowed to make quite entire memorial section of the Museum, which occupies the whole ground floor of the building.
The photos are of exceptional interest. They tell about the relatives of Vitold Kaetanovich, his family, present the artist in different years of his life – as a child, a pupil of the Kiev Cadet School, at work with the easel, with his daughter Lyubochka, among friends, with the well-known Russian artists on celebration of the 40th anniversary of tour art exhibitions, with a group of Belarusian artists in Minsk, with the well-known masters of the Soviet Art in the halls of the Museum of the Academy of Art in Leningrad.
The documents originals and copies tell about the years of education in Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, about his participation in creative contests, exhibitions, about his honourable degrees and awards. The Museum has a medal for painting “Winter Dream” at the exhibition in Barcelona, orders of USSR, as well as diplomas, congratulatory addresses, signed by the outstanding masters of the fine arts, publications, devoted to Byalynitsky-Birulya’s creative activity.
Among the exhibits of the memorial section can be found the works of the artists – close friends of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya: the portrait of the artist’s mother A.R. Byalynitskaya-Birulya painted by N.P. Ulyanov in 1894; the portraits of V.K. Byalynitsky-Birulya made by M.M. Zaitsev (1922) and F.A. Modorov (1950); landscapes depicting the house-studio “Sea Gull” and Udomlya lake outskirts.
The second floor of the Museum is completely occupied by the works of V.K. Byalynitsky-Birulya. More than fifty canvases, finished pictures and small studies, placed in light ample halls, give full picture of the of the prominent painter’s creative activity, remarkable master of the lyrical landscape.
Certainly, the very beginning of Byalynitsky-Birulya’s art is in the nature of Belarus, its muted beauty, simple motives, subdued colours forever fell into the soul of the artist and defined the distinctive features of his art, the whole emotional formation of his works. Byalynitsky-Birulya masterfully painted winter, summer, golden autumn landscapes. However, most of all he was worried by spring nature, its awakening from winter, the first flush of grass and its blooming. Turning to the concrete landscape plot, the master strived, first of all, to present the nature state, which depends on seasons, time of the day, sunshine, to depict those emotions, which the person feels, speaking to the nature.
In 1912 Vitold Kaetanovich got the piece of land in Tver Guberniya ashore Udomlya lake and built the house with a studio. He named his small manor “Sea Gull”. The great part of the creative and private life of the master is related to “Sea Gull”. Many of the well-known painter’s canvases, including his well-known picture “An Hour of Silence”. Udomlya Lake” (1911) were created exactly there.
The best part of the exposition includes the works created at the Soviet Time. In the 20s and 30s, captivated with that new that happened around him, Byalynitsky-Birulya travelled around the country much. He was interested in the first experiences on reconstruction of the agriculture in the state farm “Giant” and commune “Seybit”, construction of “Azovstal”, transformations of the North. He visited the Polar lands in 1933, 1935 and 1937. The paintings, presented at the exhibition certify about these trips. In spite of the themes of these works lyric poetical beginning, originating from the artist’s talent, his world perception, prevail in them.
The canvases “In Blue Spring” (1942), “Spring Silence” (1943), pictures with images of the monuments of Russian wooden architecture such as “Nine-domed Wooden Church”, “ZachatiyeVillage”, “Ratonavolok. Old Church”, “Mill on the North Dvina” (all – 1944) can be found at the exhibition. They have beauty of the native land and worship before cultural heritage of the folk. Exactly so the artist-citizen expressed his devotion to the Motherland, boundless love to it during the Great Patriotic War.
Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya is one of the founders of the memorial landscape genre. His works contain images of the memorable places, linked with the life of the known figures of the Russian history and culture such as L.N. Tolstoy, A.S. Pushkin, P.I. Chaikovsky and others. Such painter’s art style is presented by the pictures, devoted to Pushkin’s places – “Mikhailovskoe. The House of Pushkin’s Nanny Arina Rodionovna”, “Svyatogorsk Priory. The Grave of A.S. Pushkin”, “Trigorskoe. The Birch at the Sorot River” (all – 1936), “Autumn Days. Trigorskoe. The Sorot River” (1952). The poetry and lyricism of the paintings, musicality tune in to the inspired poetry of Pushkin.
1947 was particularly significant in the creative biography of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya: he was awarded the title of the People’s Artist of RSFSR (he was awarded the title of the People’s Artist of BSSR after 1944), he was elected a member of the Academy of Art of USSR. The important event of the year was arrival of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya to Belarus for the first time ever. Since May and till the middle of June the painter lived and worked at White Dacha in Minsk suburbs. There he painted several dozens of studies, which became the basis of the cycle of paintings devoted to Belarus. Exactly there, in Minsk outskirts, he felt the motif for his picture “Belarus. New Bloom of Spring”, the emotional content of which is complied with the main thought of the author – life triumphs, it won death, destructions. This canvas is one of the central ones at the exhibition.
Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya untiringly worked till the end of his life. He died at the age of 85. Among his last pictures exhibited in the Museum there are “Last Snow. Sea Gull” (1950), “Flax in Bloom” (1950–1951), “Spring Came” (1951), “Evening of the Early Spring” (1954), “Birches” (1955).
There is an exhibition hall in the museum mansard. The exhibitions of the fine art works from the funds of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, the Union of Artists of Belarus, exhibitions of children’s creative activity are constantly organized there.
The Art and Memorial Museum gives the full picture about the life and creative activity of Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya, the inspired artist, great worker, son of the Belarusian land.