Portrait of the poet Mikhail Semenko


Anatol Petrytsky


Mediums: watercolor, paper.
Location: The National Museum of Art, Kyiv (Ukraine).

The painting refers to the artist’s Kharkiv mature period of work. In 1929, the complete three-volume collected works of Mikhail Semenko was prepared for release. One cannot but mention the comic obituary written by Mikhail himself when one publication stated that the Boychukists were not artists. Then he replied, “So, Semenko is not a poet.” After the announcement of the “death”, Petrytsky published his «memories», “I see Semenko as alive: a man of small stature, curly hair…” In the portrait, which has a precise resemblance to the model, the author used the techniques of cubism and expressionism. He included a muse that came to the poet in a two-part composition, and also used the specific technique of Ukrainian-Russian futurism – intact and torn inscriptions. The outstanding Ukrainian poet, one of the most prominent theorists of the literary avant-garde, was accused of “vigorous counter-revolutionary activity” and was shot in 1937.