Title: After the Rain. Grodno
Original Title: После дождя. Гродно
Object type: painting
Artist: Viktar Barabantsau
Date made: 2017
Medium and support: oil on canvas
Dimensions: h 105 cm × w 110 cm × d 3 cm
Copyright: Viktar Barabantsau
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Among Belarusian artists, Viktar Kirylavich Barabantsau stands out as a master of monumental art. In 1968, he graduated from the Minsk College of Fine Arts, and in 1978, from the Belarusian State Institute of Theatre and Art (currently the Belarusian State Academy of Arts). Educated in the classical school of painting, he continues to work in the traditions of the Belarusian school of realism. A student of Gauryla Vashchanka and Uladzimir Stal'mashonak, Barabantsau studied monumental art and quickly found inspiration in the symbols and metaphors of chamber painting. His early paintings express his interest in the history and noteworthy personalities of Belarus of the 20th and 21st centuries.
After graduating from University, Barabantsau worked in monumental art, hoping to unite classical architecture and the decorative expressions of art. Together, monumental art constitutes a synthesis of different kinds of art, and requires clarity and laconism of composition, precision and totality of the sketch, rich colour schemes, and a particular approach to angle and perspective.
The subject of Belarusian festivals goes through all his work and the artist regularly creates new versions of "Kalyady in Rakau" (2007), "The Festival in Mir" (2010), "Kupalle" (2004), "Kalyady in Krėva" (2014), etc. The viewer senses that the artist wants to convey the richness of the places where celebrations take place. His monumental approach to each painting is remarkable in its plot, depth, format, space, and reflection of the atmosphere of historical traditions, culture of Belarus, and unique folk festivals.
In the 1990-2010s, Viktar Barabantsau preferred plein-air painting, conveying on canvas colourful features of the Belarusian landscape. Realistic, inspiring landscapes glorify native nature with a special sense of beauty and smells of childhood. During his travels abroad to Canada, England, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, etc., the artist was struck by the distinctive beauty of each country, foreign cities and architecture. He expresses his impressions on paper and canvas (he carries an easel and album with him everywhere). He produced many sketches of old cities of Toledo, Barcelona, Torre de San Nikolas, Plaza Mayor, the old city streets with houses made of red brick, etc. From France and Spain he brought a series of marine and urban landscapes, which are painted from nature, and marked with their own distinctive style. The paintings capture a particular state of nature; the sincerity of personal contact. The precision of form and exquisite flavour characterize works of this period.
Barabantsau's intensive artistic and pedagogical activities (he teaches at the Academy of Arts) do not interfere with his active participation in exhibitions. His works were exhibited in Minsk, Brussels (in the European Parliament and the NATO headquarters), Cyprus, Sweden, the Netherlands, New York (the United Nations headquarters), and many other countries. In addition to the works from his Chernobyl cycle, he exhibits landscapes and paintings depicting ancient Belarusian castles, including Navagrudak, Krėva, Mir that miraculously survived to the present day, and the portraits of Belarusian historical figures of different times.
The essence of tradition is the culture of memory without which no modern man, especially a creative personality, can exist. Barabantsau stays honest to himself, and does not change his principles, because, through keeping traditions, he contributes to the building of the future.