Valentina Kropivnitskaya

Valentina Kropivnitskaya was born in 1924 of a family of painters. Simultaneously, she attended The Urban Painting Studio and studied with her father. Hers was a childhood steeped in a love for painting and a worship of art, yet her first creative endeavors were not graphic, but literary. As a young girl she wrote extraordinary stories giving birth to a unique and different world and their people, having nothing in common with Soviet life of the thirties. Amidst persecution of humanitarian ideals, forced collectivism, and "the complete" new relation of the individual, Valentina created a warm world of fantasy.

Her overwhelming need to paint did not destroy her imaginary world, but enriched it : So were born the unknown creatures of Valentina Kropivnitskaya which she herself calls "beasts". They have a human body and a melancholy horse-like head. In hundreds of drawings their lives were characterized in fairy tale forests and along riverbanks with the cupolas of old churches rising out of the virgin Russian nature.

In a kingdom of purity and grace, the wickedness of lies and envy and hate are unknown. Johnathan Swift leads his Gulliver into a country of clever and noble horses despising a corrupt and wicked tribe of humans. Are these beasts related? Perhaps the difference exists in the personality of the painter herself. Her beasts, soft and tender, soul-heIpless : are incapable of despising any living thing. Their principal law is Love and their most important condition of existence is the worship of the temple of their Creator.

With the passing of time, however, the works of the painter begin to lose their carefree character. Into the fantasy fabric creeps the tones of sorrow, anguish and despair. Beasts once basking in a search of happiness now look as if they had been struck by a hard hand of destiny. The contemporaneous moment becomes the memory of the past and gives her drawings two plans : There are the somber colors of the now and the pale colors which frame the past, wherein flat transparent phantoms and wispy clouds.

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