Konstantin Matveevich Lomykin
- People's Artist of Ukraine
Konstantin Lomykin has been one of the most vivid representatives of the Odessa Art School realists and generally considered as the Ukrainian Impressionist in the West. Among his extremely varied oeuvre, there are portraits, genre paintings, still life, nudes, thematic and history paintings. One of the most characteristic features of Lomykin was how easily he could switch between one theme to another, and his virtuoso ability to harmoniously combine genres, and also his constant, purposeful development and transformation of what he had achieved into new, exciting results. Lomykin was born on August 19, 1924, in the old town of Hlukhiv, Sumy province in Ukraine. He acknowledged that he had never imagined himself in any other profession and that 'as a child, I often was dreaming of becoming an artist'. Even the World War II failed to prevent this definite and fervent life project. Lomykin volunteered to the Soviet Army forces straight away from high school to serve his nation. He was fighting to the very end, and it seemed that the cherished plan of artistic aspirations was forgotten. However, after his discharge from the forces, he enrolled the Odessa Art School in 1946. Lomykin's artistic talent, fortunately, got to the right place and was nurtured and developed under the scrutiny of Leonid Muchnik and Nikolai Shelyuto. These teachers were later recalled by Lomykin with a great sense of gratitude and appreciation as their lessons had helped Lomykin to identify his artistic path. Despite the fact that Muchnik and Shelyuto were both the artists of the South-Russian manner of paintings, they were also very different from each other, and it gave Lomykin an opportunity to get quite diverse experiences from learning.
Lomykin graduated from the School in 1951 and began to take an active part in the exhibitions all over the USSR, and later, in the international ones as well. The artist joined the Union of Artists in 1953. His first major exhibition together with A. S. Gadzinsky, which showed 98 works by the artist, took place in the same year. Subsequent significant exhibitions, in which Lomykin participated, include those, that were held in Kharkov (1954), Kiev (1956, 1957, 1974), Hamburg (1971), Odessa (1974), Takamatsu (1981), Helsinki (1982), Alma-ata (1985), in Moscow (1986). Particular mention deserves Lomykin's posthumous solo exhibition with an appealing catalogue in Marie Tak van Poortvliet Museum in Domburg, the Netherlands in 2001.
A significant change happened in Lomykin's art of the 1960s, where he was overcoming the barriers and limitations of dogmas and beliefs of the art of the 1950s. The artist has managed to find his way and develop a poetic symbolism using more generalised scenes and subject matters and move away from the small-minded, restricted plausibility of the real world depicted within a framework of one specific action, place, and time. Lomykin has treated everything as if in a more comprehensive, global way, bringing, however, the subjectivity of perception and the world of humanity and emotion into his work. Lomykin preferred to paint en plein air. Another thing, which connects the artist to Impressionism is his use of light. In most of his works, light and its effects are crucial - the artist continually has played with glares, and tonality, saturation and quality of light, giving his work a light, airy atmosphere. The artist also was pursuing the topic of Lenin, the Revolution, the Great Patriotic War. He tried to bring something conscious into the paintings, to bring them to life in addition to historical and documentary accuracy, which was achieved with the help of costumes, décor and real-life characters. Lomykin also worked on a series of urban landscapes. The art of Lomykin has taken a new dimension in the 1970s and the early 1980s. The artist's technique has become more refined and delicate, and the concept has been imbued with more intensity and greater tension. This can especially be seen in Lomykin's series of portraits of dockers, which Lomykin had a chance to depict, working as a part of the creative team in the Ilichevsk's Sea Port. Then, Lomykin was passionately captured by the theme of ballet and has repeatedly portrayed ballerinas of Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre. The artist was using a lot of different media and choosing whatever could better express his artistic vision. Lomykin has mainly used pastel for his 'ballet paintings', which helped to achieve particular softness of light and a sort of hasty touch, thus, referring to ephemerality and transience of the ballet movement.
Lomykin received the title of People's Artist of Ukraine in 1984. His third personal exhibition was organised in the same year by Odessa's Art Museum, where Lomykin's 180 works of art were shown. Most of his life, he worked in Odessa. Lomykin died in 1994.
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Иванова, Л. (2004). Собрание Живописи Одессы. Вторая половина 20 века. Киев: Издательство "Альма-Пресс".
Попова, Л., Цельтнер, В. (1980) Очерки о художниках Советской Украины. Москва: Советский Художник.