Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) is a self-taught folk artist known for her renderings of life in the Ukrainian countryside. Her gouache and watercolor works are vibrant and imaginative, depicting symmetrical red poppies tucked in a small vase or fantastical bull-like animals sprouting two-headed snakes. Expressive and consistently advocating for peace, Prymachenko’s paintings are widely known throughout Ukraine and internationally: she received a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1937, when Pablo Picasso is said to have dubbed her “an artistic miracle.”
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Earlier this week, Russian attacks northwest of Kyiv destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, where about 25 of her works were housed. According to the Ukrainian Institute, though, local residents were able to retrieve the pieces from the burning museum before they were lost entirely. The aggression subsequently prompted calls for Russia to be removed from UNESCO, which declared 2009 the year of Prymachenko.
Explore more of the renowned artist’s works and history on WikiArt.