Ukrainian Culture and Art Comes Under Attack in the Wake of Russia’s Invasion

Approximately 25 paintings by Ukrainian artist Maria Primachenko were reportedly destroyed Monday night following Russia’s evolving invasion of Ukraine.

The famous and revered artworks were housed inside Ivankiv, a town that lies 50 miles northwest of Ukraine’s capital, in an historical art museum.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs, shared the news in a tweet yesterday, deeming Primachenko’s paintings “masterpieces,” and noting that “her special gift and talent captivated Pablo Picasso.”

Although The New York Times did not confirm that the paintings were wrecked, a senior analyst at the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, came forward with new satellite imagery showing the destruction of the museum.

In response to the cultural loss, The J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles released a statement condemning Russia for its attempt to erase Ukrainian history and heritage.

Getty President and Chief Executive James Cuno stated, “News reports indicate that among the many atrocities being committed in Ukraine over the past few days of Putin’s War, Russian forces have begun destroying Ukrainian cultural heritage.”

All 25 destroyed pieces were all created by Maria Prymachenko, a village folk art painter known for her brightly-colored paintings, embroidery, and ceramics, which often feature stark imagery. Prymachenko is also a Laureate of the National Prize of Ukraine and recipient of the People’s Artist of Ukraine award.

Throughout some of the worlds worst atrocities, oftentimes, after a war is waged on people, their culture and history is also subject to come under attack. This was the case in Nazi Germany, when the German Student Union launched a book burning campaign. In the Middle East, the minaret of Syria’s Great Mosque of Aleppo was destroyed in 2013 as the Syrian Civil War unfolded, while the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan were bombed in 2001.

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