Angles of Creativity: Land, Water, Sky

Angles of Creativity: Land, Water, Sky

The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus Main building

On February 16, 2024 at 17.00 the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus (Lenin St., 20) will see the grand opening of “Angles of Creativity: Land, Water, Sky”, an exhibition of paintings dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the birth of Pavel Maslenikau (1914–1995), People’s Artist of Belarus, outstanding master of lyric-epic landscape, set designer, art critic and talented teacher.

The exhibition will feature about 40 paintings by the master from the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian Union of Artists, the Pavel Maslenikau Magiliou Regional Art Museum, the Minsk city History Museum and the artist’s family.

In Belarusian fine art of the post-war decades thematic painting occupied a dominant place in the hierarchy of genres. An artist of that era had to have a certain courage and undeniable talent to make the landscape genre the basis of his work. And Pavel Maslenikau managed this brilliantly.

It was no coincidence that the master became fascinated with understanding the beauty of his native land. Even during his years of study at the Vitebsk Art College, Pavel Maslenikau painted a huge number of landscapes and studies. Unfortunately, all these works were lost during the war. In the post-war period, he devoted more than two decades of his life to work at the Belarusian State Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre as a production designer. With his hard work and absolute obsession with theatre, Pavel Maslenikau made a huge contribution to the development of set design in Belarus. However, the love for his native nature, its subtle, at first glance discreet yet surprisingly lyrical beauty did not abandon him even during this stage of creativity. Pavel Maslenikau realised that easel painting is an integral part of the work of a set designer. And so the artist painted from life. A certain principle – moving from nature to design, gaining a theoretical understanding of the material in his work on a stage set before going back to nature for a better, in-depth perception of it – remained key for the artist’s work. In the 1960s, when Pavel Maslenikau quit his job at the theatre, he began to devote more of his time to creating independent landscape works. It was during the next three decades that the master created his best lyric-epic landscapes, many of which became real treasures of Belarusian painting of the second half of the twentieth century.

Despite the scope of his work and public activities, Pavel Maslenikau improved his skills as a painter every day. With a sketchbook on his shoulder, he traveled to many countries of the East and West: India, Nepal, Finland and Sweden; the Altai and the Carpathians; Baltics, Crimea and the Volga region; Italy, France and Egypt; and, naturally, every corner of his native Belarus. Pavel Maslenikau created a landscape chronicle of his travels. The artist created a true landscape chronicle of his travels.

Summing up the results of his creative life, Pavel Maslenikau wrote: “The long journey of an artist’s ascent into professional creative life takes place in the depths of the people’s social life, in the endless richness of spiritual life, the spiritual union of nations”.

The exhibition will run until April 21, 2024.

Exhibition curators are Natallia Sialitskaya, leading researcher at the Department of Belarusian art of the 20th–21st century of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, Katsiaryna Zapeka, senior researcher at the Exhibition Department of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.