Leonid Shchemelyov (1923–2021) is a legendary figure in Belarusian and Soviet art. He was awarded the titles of ‘Honored Artist of the BSSR’ (1977), ‘People’s Artist of Belarus’ (1983), laureate of the State Prize of Belarus (1982) and the Prize of the Union State in the field of literature and art (2009). He played a very special role in the history of our visual culture in the second half of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st century.
Being a veteran in the Great Patriotic War, Leonid Shchemelyov was able to create a lyrical poem about a man’s life in its complexity like no other: about ‘...modernity and the history of the country, love and sadness, human joy and hope, about the beauty of the land and nostalgic memories of youth’, – noted Boris Krepak, a well-known Belarusian art expert and the largest researcher of the artist’s creativities.
The artist worked in almost all genres of painting: from a figurative painting to a still life, from lyrical and epic landscapes to a composite portrait. He worked much in graphics.
The current anniversary retrospective exhibition at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus will display the artist’s works collected from public and private collections, reflecting the main stages and directions of the master’s artistic explorations during his life. The exhibition will present the entire path of Shchemelyov as a painter: from his thesis to the works of recent years, from his large works to sketches and small drawings.
The works of Leonid Shchemelyov are in the collections of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, the Minsk City History Museum, many regional and regional museums of Belarus, the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), in the funds of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Belarusian Union of Artists and private collections.