Between The Sacred And The Decorative: Сhristian Iconography In The Sketches For "Lily" Decorative Panel By Mykhailo Zhuk




Mykhailo Zhuk, Art Nouveau, symbolism, ornamental panel, iconography


Mykailo Zhuk was a graphic artist and a writer who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of the early 20th century Ukrainian art. His artworks bear the mark of the in-depth reception of the Art Nouveau style. Although art historians who studied Zhuk’s early period (1904 - 1918) did mention the complex symbolism of his works (including that of the sketches for the floral panels which we shall examine), they avoided plunging deeper in the semantic interweaving he indulged himself in. Thus, this essay shall examine the two panels titled “Lilies”, which were treated mostly as ornamental works deprived of any hidden meaning. It seems that the formal and stylistic analysis should be complemented with the other methods. The iconographic analysis shall allow us to interpret Zhuk’s symbolic language and to discern different semantic layers, and the comparative historical analysis shall help to distinguish typical and individual features in Zhuk’s artworks, which, in its turn, shall allow us to put the artist's work within the pan-European artistic context.Images in Zhuk’s case were supplemented with texts. We could not avoid studying them along with the sketches for they contained the same motives as his graphic works. By means of content analysis we analysed how the artists addressed the image of lily and discovered the biblical bias of its representation in Zhuk’s texts and images. The iconography of the “Lilies”, we suggest, has no direct predecessors and is mainly based on the author’s interpretation of St. John’s Revelation or on works of his teacher at the Krakow Academy of Arts, Stanislaw Wyspiański. For Wyspiański used floral motifs on numerous occasions and experimented with the iconographic types of Virgin Mary in his monumental religious works.



How to Cite

Demchuk С., & Kizyma Ю. (2021). Between The Sacred And The Decorative: Сhristian Iconography In The Sketches For "Lily" Decorative Panel By Mykhailo Zhuk. TEXT AND IMAGE: ESSENTIAL PROBLEMS IN ART HISTORY, 1(9).



Modern and Contemporary art