УДК 75.03+7.07-05(477.87)



Shtec V. O.

Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine, Lviv


In the article the stages of creative activity of Z. Sholtes are outlined. The main aspects of formation of his artistic vision is revealed in the context of the establishment and development of Transcarpathian school of painting. In addition to purely biographical facts, the influence of teachers and contemporaries on the artist's work explored. Discovered the essence of creative contacts with Ukrainian artists and the general state of artistic life of Transcarpathia analyzed.

Key words: art conception, painting, influence, landscape, Z. Sholtes, Transcarpathian school of painting.


Штець В. О. Основні аспекти формування мистецького світогляду Золтана Шолтеса / Національний університет «Львівська політехніка», Україна, Львів

У статті окреслено основні етапи творчого шляху З. Шолтеса. Виявлено ключові аспекти формування його мистецького світогляду у контексті становлення та розвитку Закарпатської школи живопису. Крім суто біографічних фактів, досліджено вплив вчителів та сучасників на творчість художника, виявлено суть творчих контактів з художниками України та проаналізовано загальний стан мистецького середовища Закарпаття ХХ ст.

Ключові слова: мистецька концепція, живопис, вплив, пейзаж, З. Шолтес, Закарпатська школа живопису.


Штець В. А. Основные аспекты формирования художественного мировоззрения Золтана Шолтеса / Национальный университет «Львовская политехника», Украина, Львов

В статье рассмотрено основные этапы творческого пути З. Шолтеса. Обнаружено ключевые аспекты формирования его художественного мировоззрения в контексте становлення и развития Закарпатской школы живописи. Кроме чисто биографических фактов, прийнято во внимание влияние на творчество художника его учителей и современников, а также цель творческих контактов с художниками других областей Украины. Проведен анализ общего состояния художественной среды Закарпатья ХХ в.

Ключеые слова: художественная концепция, живопись, влияние, пейзаж, З. Шолтес, Закарпатская школа живописи.


Introduction. The merited Artist of Ukraine Zoltan Sholtes, known in Ukraine and beyond its borders as a master of land¬scape genre, is considered to be one of the most talented followers of realistic tradition of Transkarpathian school of fine arts. А favourite student of Josyp Bockskai and Adalbert Erdeli, he continued the creative admonition of his celebrated teachers and developed his own art conception. He joined the classical heritage of Ukrainian fine atrs of the 20th century by numerous spiritualized images of his native land – Transcarpathian.

Z. Sholtes was born among the picturesque scenery of Carpathian hills, in Prekopa village, the former Austro-Hungaria, now Slovakia, in 1909. Thank to father’s efforts he got a very good training: he studied at Uzhhorod real gymnasium where since 1918, after the first World War and captivity J. Bockshai taught drawing. Just J. Bockshai who paid his attention to the gifted child, invited to his place, gave additional lessons of drawing. But his father wished his son to be a priest. Displayed natural taste for philosophico-analytical work and vital necessity to the education lead the twenty years old boy to Uzhhorod Greek-Catholic religious seminary. Here Z. Sholtes studied from 1929 till 1933. Both teachers and leaders of the seminary paid attention to the talented boy; so did the luminary of land painting, one of the founders of Transcarpathian A. Erdeli school of art. Inspired by fine arts, Z. Sholtes alongside with studying in religious seminary attended the Public school of drawing. Founded in 1927 in Uzhhorod, it gave the gifted youth the strict academic training and brought into the world of European tendency of painting. Studies in Public school of drawing put the solid foundation to the creative personality named Zoltan Sholtes. The teachers J. Bockshaj and A. Erdeli tolerantly and favourably looked after the increasing mastery skill of the talented pupil. Thinking over his vital position, Z. Sholtes comes to the conclusion that service to art is a spiritual work [1, p. 3].

Studying at Public school of painting, Z. Sholtes was close to his favourite teachers, highly educated graduates of Budapest academy of fine arts (in translation from Hungarian, where the name was used: Royal institute of art): to J. Bockshaj, A. Erdeli, E. Grabovskyj. The first graduates from Public school of painting in Uzhhorod were: Andrij Kotska, Ernest Kontratovych, Zoltan Sholtes, Adalbert Boretskyj. They embodied the dreams of their ideological leaders and instructors concerning the high professional native land’s art.

In 1933 Z. Sholtes was consecrated by the bishop Oleksander Hira in the order of priest. He was sent to his first parochia – Uzhok village, of Velykoberesnyj's district. In 1930th – frequent guests of Uzhok's parochia were Josyp Bockshaj, pater Danyil Bachynskyj and pater Augustyn Voloshyn. At that time villages of Verchovyna gave protection and earnings to many artists, who worked as teachers at mountain schools during the time of Czechoslovak republic: in Volosyanka – E. Kontratovych, in Husno – Sh. Petki, in Tyhyj – A. Kocka. Sholtes prepared for his personal exhibition in Uzhhorod seminary encouraged by the success of his first author’s show of personal canvases. In 1932 he took a part in the group First exhibition of fine arts of Carpathian Rus. This exhibition was the anthem to native land. At the end of 1933, on the eve of Christmas, took place the first personal exhibition of Z. Sholtes’s works in Uzhhorod. It was a frantic, extreme success. Z. Sholtes got a membership in the Artist Union of Chechoslovakia, Prague, Koshice, Uzhhorod approved the creative achievements of the artist. In Hungary the works by Z. Sholtes were no less popular. The group exhibitions of Carpathian artists brought a significant reanimation in social life of Czechoslovakia of that time. Stirring up the tourist movement, cultural exchanges were based on the great interest to our land. In the 30’s years on the peak of his popularity J. Bockshai was discovered, A. Erdeli works very actively both creatively and as a teacher like their younger sympathizers. Reproduction of authentic culture of Carpathian Rus, romanticism of nature, history, monuments of church architecture stimulate the young artists to work. Generalized image of the small territory in the centre of Europe Transcarpathia, with residents and nature arises in the picturesque canvases of A. Kocka, V. Dvan-Sharpotoki, of Z. Sholtes who were presented at the exhibitions of that time [2, p. 50].

In the first half of the 20th century the process of art in Transcarpathia is noted by uncommon activity and multicolourness. Comrades J. Bockshaj and A. Erdeli did everything possible to complete the forming Transcarpathian school of art. Negative attitude to amateurishment, sallon and officious were demonstratively emphasized by the founders. Organizational committee of artistic exhibitions, which were held in the region under A. Erdeli’s heading, unconditionaly approved the right that Z. Sholtes was to give three different works to any exhibition. Sholtes attracted the audience by his true sincerety which was based on the tradition of colour. The expressive means of artistic expres¬sive¬ness in the works of Z. Sholtes inspire optimism. In the creative works of the artist rich colours of the summer day and pastel winter limpidity of Carpathian mountain passes stand side by side.

The creative heritage of Z. Sholtes contains considerable quantity of works of sacred character. Like J. Bockshaj, Z. Sholtes had possibility to take to the religious skill only to the end of the 1940-th. The J. Bockshaj’s influence is a felt in the realization of interior works in churches, specifically, on altar picturesque icons in the church, of the village – Small Rativci near Uzhhorod, as well as on the alfresco's paintings. Unfortunately, paintings are lost today. The genre easel canvases are sprayed in private collections in the space of prewar Europe [2, p. 52].

In 1939 Z. Sholtes got a new appointment as chaplain in Greek-Catholic church Sevlush town (now Vynogradiv). But in 1941 he removes with family to Turica in Perechyn district and worked as a priest there till 1948. Ideological cleanings began in the land with all might, and soon followed the prohibition of the Greek-Catholic church’s activities on the territory of the whole Ukraine. Thus, Z. Sholtes got into the category of unemployed, and being out of constant “attention” to the artist during long years on the side of different organizations and not very reliable for the system is the “former servant of cult”. But there’s not so bad, that can’t be better. Active work together with A. Kocka, E. Grabovskyj, A. Boreckyj and great masters A. Erdeli, J. Bockshaj, F. Manajlo from Transcarpathian Artists’ Leager was crowned with success. On the 16th of August, 1946 the Transcarpathian Organization of Artists’ Leager of Ukraine began to work, and Z. Sholtes joined it immediately [3, p. 56].

Since 1945 Zoltan worked actively in the stuff of organizing commitee on setting up Transcarpathian Artists’ Leage. In July 1945 in Kyiv the first exhibition of works was organized and opened by artists of Transcarpathian Ukraine and folk masters for exposure. The same year Transcarpathians make their debut in Kyiv at the eight Ukrainian art exhibition, where the works by Zoltan Sholtes were also presented. Somewhere in the artists biography some good words about him, said at time by Soviet writers. It were P. Punch, J. Smolych, M. Ryl’skyj, journalist Il’chenko came in handy, who were members of delegation who visited Transcarpathia in 1945 and turned to in parochia in Perechyn, where Z. Sholtes served. Representatives of the creative circles of Ukraine were impressed by Europeanization of Transcarpathian Art. They did not expect it at all. It was interesting for Soviet writers to see another world of people, people from behind the iron gate of “socialism”. Some time later the Ukrainian artists will open for themselves the Carpathians and Transcarpathians [2, p. 57]. “His canvases are hanging near the works of his venerable teacher Josep Bockshaj who is worthy of wonder, and it is difficult to say who is better of them – the maestro or a pupil”, – this is a responce of the O. Il'chenko to the works of Z. Sholtes at the grouped exhibition [4, p.65]. “His works speak about him as an entirely perfect artist…” – P. Panch dwells on the artistic achievements of Z. Sholtes. – “Sholtes is a master of the landscape. He paints everything surrounding his home. And before the spectator views his rich, multi coloured brave canvases colour’s, the Carpathians, villages, mountain valleys in their natural beauty when they are covered with snow and when they blirst forth with flowers and smoulder under the burning sun…” [5, p. 40]. The outstanding Ukrainian graphic artist, the adherent of the Transcarpathian school of painting V. Kasiyan was also interested in the creative work of Z. Sholtes. The coloured and the light findings on the canvas of the artist and his creative manner, V. Kasiyan placed in one row with the works of the French impressionists.

Despite of the general acknowledgement and recognition Zoltan Sholtes to be as a master of landscape genre only. There are numerous portraits, genre scenes, etc. in the creative work of the master. They are less known to public. Critics actively remember the “The head of an old man” (1928), ”An old man” (1931), ”The portrait of the farmer with pipe” (1932) Z. Sholtes endows the heroes of his pictures and portraits with peculiar for him clarity of soul, distinct and determined character”. Every day life is shown in the slow, simple scenes of the author. Marvellous portrait compositions of Z. Sholtes are kept at his sister’s place in Hungary. Extremely convincingly sounds the master in the portrait of “Marichka” (1930) [6, p. 98]. A girl from the mountains as if specially poses to the artist. In the portrait works of Sholtes we feel a strong impact both Russian classical portrait painting and the achievements in this branch the skill of Bockshaj. The professionalism and uncompromising devotion to realism are inherent in Sholtes’s activity and they are leading in his creative method.

Later the artist together with H. Hluck and V. Svyda was on creative spots in Dzinter, Senezhi and Lielupe. Figurative water-colours, original portrait sketches of that time stress the unique art skill to work “a-la prima”. This concerns both the portrait sketches and all the author’s creative experience in the open air. As we know Sholtes regarded mainly the open air to be the feature of European in Transcarpathian art. Sholtes was convinced of it on the experience of carrying out the common creative open air. Kyivites, members of the Artists League of Ukraine, immediately after the reunion of Transcarpathia with Ukraine came to Transcarpathia for colours. Then for the Soviet Ukraine that what they saw here at Transcarpathian masters was frankly, decoratively, declaratively-voiced. For example: in the small Liskivci Bereznyanskyj region they placed a camp. T. Jablons'ka, S. Shyshko, M. Hlushchenko were present. Transcarpathian artists by watch mood rode up to the place of the camp. Everybody liked this Carpathian Barbizon. The first Tatjana Jablonska’s husband the artist Otroschenko copied in open air (and not only) the works of Sholtes. And Mykola Hluschenko felt himself in the Carpathians like in colourful vineyards of Bretagne – easy and free. Community of souls feelings united Z. Sholtes and M. Hlushchenko for a long time. Strong friendship was between Z. Sholtes and L. Chichkan, he was on friendly terms with T. Jablons'ka.

In 1950th – Sholtes works as an artist and since 1965 – as the main artist of industrial workshops of Art Fund. In 1965-1972 – the master headed the council of art of the Art Fund of Artists League of the USSR. The artist Sholtes himself works unusually efficiently and effectively at that time. A lot of works come out from under the artist’s brush, bringing effective and picturesque melodies penetrated by emotions, feelings. The artist’s favourite motives are mountain panoramas, picturesque valleys of the river Turya, outskirts of Uzhhorod. Almost all compositions of Z. Sholtes are written directly from nature and their completeness and pictorial perfection testify to the exceptional experience of mature studios and in general about the skill of introducing an appropriate measure of improvisation in the interpretation of natural motives. This feeling of improvisation, expresses a certain junction of ways of the nature perception in the creative method of the artist: on the one hand – is a subconscious inspired attitude to beauty of the Transcarpathian landscape, on the other it is the unsteadiness of the mountain panorama and diversity of nature are under his careful observation.

Conclusions. Creativity Sholtes unfolding on the wide cultural and artistic background and content of work consistent with his inner talent of a realistic interpreter of the surrounding world and his own impressions of it. Really, works of Z. Sholtes are in the spirit of the realistic tradition of Transcartpathian school of the Fine Arts. But, his own art conception, his style realism is not devoid romanticism and almost subtle colouring of the Impressionism. The interested subjectivity and the realistic authenticity created the original manner of representation of the reality by the artist. Z. Sholtes is supposed to be one of the most talented bards of the majestic Carpathian panoramas. His works, as to the works of main Transcarpathians are inherent of deep display of his own world – view, caused by, in the first place by the very specificity of living conditions in the hills, by eternal folk culture, which is characterised by its pantheistic attitude to nature. This pantheism, in its different variants and forms of artistic embodiment secure the existence and development of the Transcarpathian school of painting.



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