Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Exhibit Opening & Reception. Ukraine’s People Revealed! Early Eighteenth Century Paintings of Ukrainian Society
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Please join us for an opening reception for our exhibit Ukraine’s People Revealed! Early Eighteenth Century Paintings of Ukrainian Society.

The Division of Prints and Drawings of the Swedish National Museum, Stockholm contains a collection with just over 200 hand-painted costume drawings, images of the peoples of the former Russian Empire. The images are associated with the name of Friedrich Wilhelm Bergholtz (1699–1772), a collector who served as a tutor to the Grand Duke Petr Fedorovich, the future Peter III.

It is likely that the forty-eight extraordinary Ukrainian oils in this collection are related to the visit undertaken by the court of Empress Elizabeth (r.1741-1762) to Kyiv and the Kozelets estates of the influential Count Oleksiy Rozumovsky (1709-1771) in the summer of 1744. Within a few years of this politically significant visit, Elizabeth agreed to restore the Ukrainian Hetmanate to its formerly autonomous status and appoint Oleksiy’s younger brother Kyrylo (1728-1803) as Hetman. The twenty-six reproduction images displayed in this exhibition are among the earliest known ethnographic depictions of Ukrainian society in all its range and diversity and have never before been publicly displayed.

The exhibit is curated by Nathaniel Knight (Seton Hall University) with Edward Kasinec (Hoover Institution at Stanford University & Harriman Institute at Columbia University), and Remy Chwae (Columbia University).

Images: N. Knight (CC BY-SA)