The 130th anniversary of Yazep Drozdovich (1888, Glubokoe District – 1954), an artist, one of the founders of the Belarusian national historical painting, sculptor, is celebrated on October 13.
The Yazep Drozdovich’s name takes the rightful place in the history of the Belarusian culture of the first half of the XX century. His work is unique and traditional, naive and wise, realistic and symbolic. Yazep Drozdovich was not only a unique graphic artist, sculptor and painter, but also a writer, woodcarver, folklore collector, archaeologist, teacher.
Yazep Drozdovich born in Punki (formerl Vilna Governorate, now Glubokoe district, Vitebsk region) in an impoverished noble family. From 1906 to 1910 he studied at the Vilna art school of I. Trutnev, professor of painting. Then he worked as an artist-decorator at the “Belaruskaya Hatka” cultural-educational club, the Belarusian State Theater. He taught drawing classes at the Belarusian gymnasium and women's gymnasium, worked together with literary publishers as an illustrator: he designed the book covers for “Belarusski kalyandar for 1910”, “Kurgannaya kvetka” by K. Buylo (1914), “Shkolny speunik” by A. Grinevich (1920) . Yazep Drozdovich was the founder of the art studio at the Vilna Belarusian gymnasium (1927). In Vilna, he made the first independent steps in art: graphic works with the views of native places.
Yazep Drozdovich was one of the first artists who embodied Belarus, its culture and history in the visual arts. He created the graphic series about the ancient architecture in Belarus, cycles devoted to the castle architecture of Belarus and Lithuania (“Mir”, “Krevo”, “Lida”, “Golshany”, “Novogrudok”, “Medniki”, “Trakai”); portraits of the Polotsk and Smolensk princes; portraits of famous historical figures: magnate K. Sapega, great hetman K. Ostrozhsky, writers A. Mitskevich, V. Syrokomlya, F. Bogushevich, Y. Kupala. Yazep Drozdovich devoted a number of works to the famous Belarusian first printer F. Skaryna. Images of native landscapes are reflected in the graphic series “Disenshchina”.
Another group of works consists of the works with symbolic and allegorical images. The works are distinguished by artistic completeness, penetration. There are tenderness and love for the native places, land, pride for its sons, for our heroic past in each work. The Y. Drozdovich’s artistic talent was realized the most in paintings and graphic works on fantastic space themes. The artist’s original performance allowed him to look into a distant and unknown, mysterious, to create his own structure and form of unearthly life.
Other attractive part of his talent consists in the works of applied and decorative arts: painted carpets, carved staffs, jewelry boxes, etc. As a sculptor, Y. Drozdovich created the portrait sculptures of F. Skorina, the bas-reliefs of A. Grinevich, M. Mashara, Y. Pachopka and the his mother’s one.
In the course of his lifetime the artist has often traveled around the Pinsk and Disna regions. He was noting folklore and folk vocabulary for dictionary making, has participated in the publication of Belarusian fairy tales, folk songs, has compiled albums with samples of Belarusian fabrics. In the late 1930s, Y. Drozdovich conducted archaeological excavations, made sketches of ancient settlements. As the result of this work he wrote the manuscript, according to which Belarusian archaeologists has found more than 20 sites of ancient settlements nowadays. Art, folklore, archaeological activities of the artist intertwined with his literary work. His poems and notes were published in the pages of the press, and in 1923 his book appeared under the pseudonym Y. Narcizov was pablished in Vilna. Y. Drozdovich is also the author of the popular science brochure (1931). His most significant work is the poem, dedicated to the Polotsk ancient city. The Central Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences keeps some manuscripts of his fantastic works.
A monument dedicated to Y. Drozdovich has been erected on Bogdanovich Street in Minsk (by sculptor I. Golubev). The Germanovich Museum of Art and Ethnography (Sharkovshchina district, Vitebsk region) is named after his name.
Information can also be found in the “Belarus in Persons and Events” factographic database.