National Art Museum of Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine

The National Art Museum of Ukraine, which was the first museum in Kyiv to be freely open to the public, was founded at the end of the 19th century by the efforts of Ukrainian intellectuals.

Museum building was constructed under the project of Moscow architect Petro Boitsov in neo-classic style. The facade of the building conveys a neoclassical architecture form – precise reproduction of a six-column porch of Doric order with entablature, triglyphs, metopes and frieze decoration depicting the Triumph of Arts. The architectural composition featuring figures of gryphons and large concrete lions at the top of the stairs were created by an Italian sculptor, Emilio Sala. 


The National Art Museum of Ukraine has the most representative collection of Ukrainian figurative art in the world. Collection of the museum numbers almost 40 thousands exhibits, among which masterpieces of Ukrainian painting, sculpture, and graphics from Kyiv Rus age to nowadays are represented.

Museum has one of the best Ukrainian icon collections which opens with the rare object of the 12th century – polychrome wooden relief 'Saint George with hagiography' of Byzantine origin. Middle Ages are represented with classic examples of icon painting of 14–16th centuries from the Western Ukraine, including the unique antiquities such as Holy Mother 'Hodigitria' from Volyn, St. George The Dragon Slayer, and The Passion of the Christ from Halychyna region.

The collection of Ukrainian Baroque art is outstanding by its value. Here one can find amazing examples of Ukrainian baroque icons such as The Intercession with the Portrait of Bohdan Khmelnytskiy (first half of the 18th century, Kyiv region), pair icons Great Martyrs Anastasia and Juliania, Barbara and Catherine (18th century, Northern Left Bank), icons from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra workshops from the iconostasis of Dormition Cathedral Entrance to Jerusalem and The Nativity (1729). The iconostasis from Berezna village (Chernihiv region, 1860s) is the zest of the collection.

It shows the monumental reaching and excellent artistry of the masters of Ukrainian Baroque era. The impression of this wonderful age is strengthened by the collection of 18th century Ukrainian Portraits which represent the first secular genre in Ukrainian painting. The collection of folk paintings 'Cossack the Bandura Player' is one of the biggest in the museum and expands the secular art of the Baroque period in Ukraine.

The age of the 19th century art, when St. Petersburg Academy of Arts was the trendsetter, opens with works of the famous Ukrainian portraitists, who connected their lives with the capital city of the Russian Empire – Dmytro Levytskiy and Volodymyr Borovykovskiy. Taras Shevchenko, the painter, occupies a special position in the history of Ukrainian art. Small collection of paintings and graphic works by Shevchenko gives a vision of his outstanding talent and shows new democratic tendencies in Ukrainian figurative art, continued by the artists of the next generation. Monographic collection of Mykola Pymonenko's works presents the following development of Ukrainian painting traditions which consisted in the increase of the genre subjects and transformation of painting manner from realism to impressionism. Odessa painting school led by Kiriak Kostandi is presented in the exhibition. The impression of the development of Ukrainian art is widened with the classical portraits (works by H. Vasko, A. Mokrytskiy, O. Rokachevskiy) and landscape paintings (works by V. Shternberg, V. Orlovkiy, S. Svitoslavskiy, S. Vasylkivskiy). Monographic collection of Oleksandr Murashko, bald art reformer who worked in the beginning of the 20th century, is the most interesting.

Vivid and original heritage of Ukrainian avant-garde represented in the museum is shown by the works of the world-wide famous sculptor Oleksandr Arkhypenko, painters Oleksandra Ekster, Oleksa Hryshchenko, Oleksandr Bohomazov, and Viktor Palmov. Unique trend in Ukrainian art of 1910s–1930s (called after its leading artist, Mykhailo Boichuk) 'boichukism' is introduced in one of the exhibition halls. In soviet epoch boichukists were included into the list of repressed and prohibited painters and only nowadays their art has found a respective place in the museum exposition. The art of totalitarian age, in spite of the dramatic historical collisions, gave birth to a galaxy of creative individuals. The names of Fedir Krychevskiy, Anatol Petrytskiy, Tetiana Yablonska, Serhiy Hryhoriev, and Mykola Hlushchenko are inscribed in the golden book of Ukrainian art history. Collection of graphics and sculpture of the 20th century evokes special attention and desire to explore it.



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Founded: 1899
Category: Museums in Ukraine

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andri (3 years ago)
Enjoyed all the expositions . The place to appreciate Ukrainian Art from different centuries . Now the main entrance is closed - you should enter through the back door , go all the way behind .
Kuba Jakubczak (3 years ago)
One of the worst museums I’ve been recently. No airco, you nearly die, it is sooo hot, you enter by rear door and you see things you would not like to see. Second flor is closed. Go there only if you have ticket for free, you look free wifi or you have absolutely nothing else to do in Kiev… PS. The only two paintings I liked
Jagon Chichon (3 years ago)
Lots of diverse art and a well lit space. Although the jewellery exhibition didn't appeal to me, the pieces were very beautiful. Well worth a visit whilst in Kiev
Alex Ambroz (5 years ago)
Vast collection of classical and early modern Ukrainian art. Impressive collection of Orthodox icons. We've visited the exhibition of Ukrainian futurist and cubist artist Oleksandr Bohomazov, it was really impressive. Museum has small and rather limited souvenir shop.
Женя Угрюмов (5 years ago)
It's really awesome for patriots of Ukraine. There are good pictures of Ukrainian craftsmen, very politely atmosphere. The ticket cost 40 hryvnases (adult). Free entrance on Saturday.
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