About Petrykivka Folk Art

Petrykivka Style of Painting is a characteristic feature of Ukrainian decorative folk art that has been practiced for generations in the village of Petrykivka in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Early decorative paintings in Petrykivka were mostly murals on the walls of the peasants’ houses rather than easel paintings. The folk poetic interpretation of the surrounding world was and is at the basis of the Petrykivka paintings. Stylized flowers and guilder-rose are among the most popular motifs of the murals with even regular thistles and other weeds featuring rather prominently in the paintings. Murals decorated not only the walls of the houses, both inside and outside, but also the walls of barns and sheds, thus creating a decorative ensemble within individual households.

In all likelihood, for a considerable length of time, paintings decorated only the walls before they began to be done on other materials — paper, wood panels or canvas. Mineral pigments were used for making paints and instead of brushes short lengths of reed stocks, twigs or even fingers were used to apply the paint onto the primed walls, the primer mostly being a thin layer of clay. Egg-based paints were used in later times to do paintings on paper. Three colours were predominant — red, yellow (or yellow-green), and dark blue.

It would be wrong to assume that it was only in the village of Petrykivka that such painting flourished — decorative paintings of a very similar style could — and still can — be found in many other villages of Ukraine. The local styles differ in certain details but they all preserve a number of basic elements and features that makes it possible to recognize them as belonging to one and the same basic style, which was given the name of Petrykivka painting.