Mykola Kornylovych Pymonenko (Ukrainian: Микола Корнилович Пимоненко) 9 March 1862, Priorka [uk], near Kiev, Russian Empire; [now Kyiv, Ukraine] – 26 March 1912, Kiev, Russian Empire) was a Ukrainian realist painter who lived and worked in Kyiv. Pymonenko was a teacher of Kazimir Malevich (Kazymyr Malevych). Many of Malevych's early works were influenced by Pymonenko.
Pymonenko is often described as a Russian painter because he was painting in Kyiv within the Russian Empire. He was associated with the Odesa-based Society of South Russian Artists in southern Ukraine (1891–1896) and, as of 1893, with the Peredvizhniki, a Saint Petersburg-based society circulating exhibitions throughout the empire. He is best known for his urban and rural genre scenes of farmers, country folk and working-class people.
Mykola Kornylovych Pymonenko was born 9 March 1862 in the village Priorka [uk] on the outskirts of Kiev, Russian Empire (present-day Kyiv, Ukraine). His father was a master iconographer, of Ukrainian descent. After working as his assistant, Mykola went on to study icon painting at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
In 1876, Pymonenko's work was seen by Nikolay Murashko, one of the founders of the Kyiv Art School [uk], who was impressed by the young artist, and lobbied the school's financial backers to allow Pymonenko to study there for free. Two years later, Pymonenko enrolled at the school, where he worked with the painter Khariton Platonov, Murashko, and others. He studied there until 1882. His examination work was sent to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in 1881, he received a licence to teach drawing in the lower secondary schools and was able to audit classes at the Academy. He married the daughter of Vladimir Orlovsky, one of his instructors.
From 1882 to 1884 Pymonenko studied at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. That year, his poor health (which was possibly caused by tuberculosis) and a lack of funds caused him to return to Kyiv, where he found work as a drawing teacher at a private school. After the school closed in 1901, he moved to the Kiev Polytechnic Institute of Emperor Alexander II, and remained there for the rest of his life. From 1906 he taught at the Kyiv Art School, Kazimir Malevich being one of his most notable students.
In 1897, Pymonenko was involved in decorating Kyiv's St Volodymyr's Cathedral and was awarded the Order of Saint Anne for his work there. From 1893 he was a member of the Peredvizhniki, and in 1899 he became a full member of the group, and was named an 'academician' in 1904. He won a gold medal at the Salon in 1909 for his exhibited painting Hopak, now kept in the Louvre, in Paris.
Pymonenko died in 1912 after a short illness. He was buried at the Lukyanivka Cemetery. His posthumous exhibition at the Academy of Arts, which took place in early 1913, featured 184 paintings, 419 sketches and 112 pencil drawings. In 1959, a street was named after him and, in 1997, a museum devoted to him was opened in Malyutyanka [uk], a village he visited regularly each year. Several of his works have alternate versions, painted years apart.
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