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Ioann Heorh Pinzel Sculpture

Ioann Heorh Pinzel Sculpture
Sculptures by Ioann Heorh Pinzel that were displayed
in Kyiv during a 2008 exhibition.
by Alyona Zhuk

Sculptures of Ukraine's genius to shine in France's Louvre

Ukrainian sculpting genius Ioann Heorh Pinzel will go on show this autumn in France's Louvre with a solo exhibition for more than three months.

The museum's scouts have picked out 28 works of the 18th-century artist that will go on display between Nov. 12 of this year and Feb. 25, 2013.

A delegation of technicians from Louvre came to Ukraine last week to present the plan of display that will take place in the Chapel of Louis XIV, and other technical details, according to Vira Stetsko, an art historian from the Ternopil Museum of Regional Studies.

The Louvre specialists picked out seven sculptures from her museum.

They also picked out three from the Prykarpattya Museum in Ivano-Frankivsk, and the Pinzel Museum in Lviv will lend the most masterpieces - 18.

Stetsko says it's a lot, considering that most of Pinzel's works were destroyed by the Soviet regime. There is little information left about the artist, too - yet enough for the Louvre specialists to know him and show initiative to organize a solo exhibit.

Art critics from the famous museum came to western Ukraine in 2009 to visit the places where Pinzel lived and worked, and offered to take some of his masterpieces to display in Louvre.

"All expenses will be covered by the Louvre, including packing, transportation and insurance," says Mykhailo Deynega, head of the Prykarpattya Museum.

Deynega says he feels extremely proud that a Ukrainian artist has been noticed by the world, and will get even more famous thanks to the upcoming exposition.

Though the Louvre website contains no information about the exhibition so far, its press service confirmed that the exhibit is scheduled for this fall, promising more public information closer to the date of the exhibit.

Stetsko said that Pinzel came to Ukraine around the 1740s, surfacing in the court of Mykola Pototskyi, a famous patron of arts of his time. "No one knows where he came from, nor what his real name was," she said.

Pinzel is believed to have studied somewhere in Europe, most likely in Italy. Stetsko says that "his works were heavily influenced by the Renaissance art."

But bringing European traditions into Ukrainian sculpture is not what made Pinzel famous. He developed his own style that doesn't have an official term, but can be described as flexible expressionism.

"Before him, sculptures were made in a canonical way, but his works look alive, capturing the dynamics of movement,"explains Stetsko.

Borys Voznytskyi, head of Lviv's Pinzel Museum, says that Pinzel is by far the brightest representative of Ukraine's 18th century baroque style. He has been compared to Michelangelo and Lorenzo Bernini, the famous sons of Italy.

Art historians say that public interest to Pinzel's work has been rising lately. Three museums joined forces to promote him and the year 2007 as The Year of Pinzel, organizing multiple exhibitions and publishing photo albums of his masterpieces to tell the world about him.

His fame reached France, and even Japan.

"A crew from Japan's channel NHK came to Ukraine last year to film a documentary about Pinzel," says Stetsko. "It was released in October, though, unfortunately, Ukraine didn't buy the screening rights."

Pinzel's sculptures will travel to Paris in October, and will be in display in their home museums until then.

Several of the masterpieces picked out by the Louvre have not been on permanent exposition before.

"There was not enough places, but we are thinking about reorganizing the exposition when they return from France, as more and more people show interest to Pinzel's works," says Stetsko.

Spatial Thoughts on Sculpture by Bill West
Ioann Heorh Pinzel an incredible Ukrainian sculptor. ""Mysterious" he is, in a very literal meaning of this word. We do not know where the sculptor was born, where he was trained, to which lands he traveled, where and when he died. We do not even know for sure how to spell correctly his first and middle name." so well said from a recent book - here is another exert "We know that Pinzel's art flourished in the mid-eighteenth century and that he must have died in the 1770s. We know that he decorated with his sculptures churches and city halls in the towns and villages of Monastyryska, Horodenka, Hodovytsya, Pidkamin and Zolochev. We know that he worked mostly in Buchach in the 1740s and 1750s, and spent the final years of his life in Lviv. We know that he created sculpture for the City Hall in Buchach for both Catholic and Orthodox churches."
It sure seems sculpture and time are so well linked and can be mysterious at the same time. I'm currently searching for a sculptor that is less than 40 years old and there seems to be little information... Yes, there will be sculpture created in 2010 that will need to be located, and information may not be found in the year 2080 - and this is the information age! Please stay tuned as we are striving to rectify that!

Ioann Heorh Pinzel Sculpture
One of the works of sculptor Ioann Heorh Pinzel, exhibited in Lviv on Aug. 14, 2007. (UNIAN)

Ioann Heorh Pinzel Sculpture
St. John © 1760 (from a church in the village of Hodovytsya) Museum of Sacral Sculpture, Lviv.