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Viktor Tolochkos pictorial impressions of the Crimea


Inscrutable are the ways of a creator, both divine and human. It would be futile to ask why the artist, whose creations you scrutinize, has chosen to depict this particular subject in such a way, or why his creations differ so much in style one from the other. Viktor Tolochko is one of those artists who love Nature and Beauty so much they devote all their creative energy to the Quest in search of them, and do it with such ingenuity and with so many pictorial insights that you cannot help wondering whether all of these paintings have been created by one and the same person.


Illariya Mishchenko, an art critic, presents the Ukrainian painter Viktor Tolochko, a great lover of Nature.


Viktor Tolochko, who was born in the town of Melitopol in 1922, discovered he was fascinated with Nature in his childhood. The southern beauty of the place he lived in, enchanted the young man making him want to capture it with paints and pencils.

His artistic inspirations were brutally disrupted by the war which broke out when Nazi Germany invaded Ukraine in 1941. In one of the battles, he, a rank-and-file soldier, was badly wounded and failing to return to his unit, was listed as missing in action. In fact, in the village of Tepla, not far from the city of Kursk, there is a memorial plaque with the names of those who died in action in the villages vicinity, and among the names we find Viktor Tolochko. But he survived and it was nothing short of a miracle.

This miracle he celebrated later in his art.

After the war, Tolochko went to Kharkiv where he studied at an arts school and then at the Kharkiv Art Institute where among his teachers were talented Ukrainian artists Serhiy Besedin, Oleksiy Kokel and Oleksandr Lyubymsky. They themselves and their disciples made a worthy contribution to the development of Ukrainian fine art.

In the period that followed the completion of studies at the institute in 1957, Tolochko painted many pictures devoted to the tragic events of the past war which had affected the destinies of so many people, his own included (Defenders of the Brest Fortress; Soldiers Dreams; Step into Immortality; Resistance Fighters; In Memory of a Soldier, to name but a few). These canvases may be tragic but they are not pessimistic and often they are paradoxically lyrical. The painter freely uses generalizations, creating images that reflect the horror and heroism of war.

In most of his paintings, Tolochko draws our attention to the carefully reproduced details. Landscape is his constant theme, even though it may appear as a background. In his later years, the painter makes landscape his major theme, capturing all kinds of moods of Nature in all of its possible states. Though some of the canvases present Nature at its gloomiest, most of Tolochkos pictures celebrate the triumphant vibrancy of wild life. The inexhaustible energy of Nature is rendered through the dynamic colours and light that floods his pictures. The brush strokes themselves are called upon to create pictorial hymns to life in all of its attractive manifestations.

One of the characteristic features of Tolochkos art is his active search of subjects that would show the world in as many states and conditions as could be found. Tolochkos paintings are never repetitive, each one is treated in a manner that suits it best, and yet they retain the general features peculiar for Tolochkos art.

Neither Tolochkos talent nor his drive seem to be affected by age. Physically he may be an octogenarian, but his art retains the vigor and freshness of his young years. He is always on the lookout for beauty whatever form it may take  he finds it and welcomes us to join him in enjoying it.


WU express thanks to Bank Tavrika

for the materials provided for this article.


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