Twenty-five paintings by Ukrainian self-taught artist Maria Prymachenko were burned during Russia’s invasion in the country, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on social media. The works had been held by the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, in a town about two hours outside Kyiv that has been shelled by Russian troops.
Sometimes labeled a folk artist, Prymachenko, who died in 1997, was known for her richly colored portrayals of mythical beasts and her quaint images of Ukrainians in natural settings. Prymachenko’s work is prized within Ukraine, where her art has been featured on postage stamps. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called her works “world-famous masterpieces.”
Videos circulating on social media appear to show the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum on fire. Emine Dzheppar, the deputy minister of cultural affairs in Ukraine, posted footage that seemed to show the museum in flames. “Having no culture of their own, they destroy all the heritage of other nations,” she wrote on Twitter, speaking of the Russians who she said had attacked the museum.
It is not clear whether other objects were burned during the apparent destruction of the museum. ARTnews has reached out to the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum for comment.
While the war in Ukraine only officially began days ago, it is already certain that the country’s art scene will be impacted. Pavlo Makov, the artist representing Ukraine at the Venice Biennale this April, said he was forced to stop working on the pavilion due to the invasion and the danger it posed for him and the curators organizing it.