Vitebsk painter Kukhto Sergey Vasilievich (1959-1999)

The Vitebsk painter Kukhto Sergei Vasilievich (1959-1999)

Vitebsk painter Kukhto Sergey Vasilievich (1959-1999)

Today I want to introduce you to an incredible artist from Vitebsk - Sergey Kuhto. And for those who are already familiar, I suppose it will be interesting to learn even more about him, about his work, or just to see these fabulous works again, even in photos.

Artist about the artist

I have long wanted to write my thoughts about this unusual artist. However, I could not decide how to write, from which side to approach his work. Whether to consider his works in detail, as an art critic, delving into the symbolism and history of creation, describing and explaining the numerous nuances of his living creativity. Or to tell about him from the viewer's point of view, gradually immersing in the topic. In the end, I decided to start from the beginning, and then see how it goes.

Sergey Kuhto

First of all, I will give a brief information about him. Sergey Vasilievich Kuhto (April 22, 1959, Vitebsk - November 1, 1999, Vitebsk) - a painter of the mythological genre. In 1978 he graduated from the Minsk Art School named after A.K. Glebov. He began to exhibit his works in the mid-1990s. His works are in private collections in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, Israel, Russia, and Belarus.

There is a lot of information, various texts, and photos of his works, you can't fit it all into one article. So I decided to divide"Split into separate small notes." This article will also serve as an introductory and summary to help you navigate the material. It's best to read them in order, starting with the first one."But I'm also attaching a link to the website dedicated to Sergei Kuhto. As far as I know, it's official. There, the history of the author's life is quite detailed, as well as many impressions from different people, descriptions and analyses of the artwork by art critics. Those who are interested can check it out and read. I don't see the point in duplicating the information here. However, I will present a couple of video clips. Unfortunately, they are not displayed there for technical reasons."

I first learned about the work of the artist Sergei Kukhto at his first exhibition. Unfortunately, it was already a tribute to the author.

I found out about the existence of the artist Sergei Kukhto when I was around thirteen years old. In a local newspaper, like the Vitebsk Courier, there was a small note about a tragic event. Vitebsk lost a great master.

In 1993, a photo of the painting "Chiron with Spartans" was attached to the note. Two beautiful girls and a centaur walking along the seashore. Just a dream. This work really impressed me. And it remains one of my favorite works by Kukhto in his creative work. Although, of course, he has other wonderful works too. But like love, if it touches your soul immediately, then you can't get rid of it.I sat for a long time and looked at this small photograph in the newspaper. I could not imagine that in Vitebsk, in a small town so far from the world of great art, there is such an artist. And he creates works like in the best museums in the world. Even more so, because here, in this work, you can feel a very modern approach. There is no stiffness and tightness of the plot as in the past. I felt likeI stand nearby and see Chiron walking along the seashore, leisurely chatting with the Spartans. In ancient times, such a plot would have been presented differently.

And then I went to an exhibition of Sergey Kukhto's works. It was his first solo exhibition. And already in memory of the author. In the future, I visited all the exhibitions that opened in Vitebsk. And to this day, I still find something new in these extraordinary works.

But let's go back to that time, in the year 2000, with a large crowd slowly pushing into the small exhibition hall of the music lounge. Unfortunately, you won't find such a crowd at an exhibition today. People are not so actively interested in art. However, let's return to the hall. It was very noisy and stuffy inside, as everyone discussed and shared their impressions of what they saw. It was difficult to examine the works, the hall was dark, and there was clearly not enough overhead lighting. By the way, this hall is still the same.

Right from the entrance at eye level hangs the first work. Nothing else is visible, you can't move forward. I saw a small painting. In the middle of a winter landscape, there is a centaur. Already unusual in itself, as this character comes from the myths of warm and sunny Greece. In any case, certainly not from snowy places. The centaur is wearing unusual warm clothing with a diamond-shaped pattern. And a hat on his head. I immediately thought of Napoleon, and the clothes were just right. The landscape, on the other hand, is quite familiar. Snow-covered field, modest remains of small trees and branches, hollows are visible. A steep slope goes straight from the edge. Rough sticks railing, leading to a village house below. Warm light is shining in the windows of the house. And the centaur looks at this slope and the house. Large masses of white snow, clean and smooth, contrast with the well-detailed figure of the centaur. Every strand of his fur is visible.

I lingered and looked for a long time. I read the title "House in the ravine" until I was pushed to move on. After all, others also wanted to see. As I progressed, I got acquainted with other works. I wanted to stop and look longer, but I couldn't.

Centaurs in different forms appeared before me. Each painting was new. I thought, how come only centaurs and nothing else? They were very different. Somewhere simply, wrapped in woolen and fur clothes. And somewhere bright and flashy. Or completely naked. I noticed the familiar "Napoleon" in many works and thought it was the story of one character. And then the guess was confirmed, but regarding another character. The same name "Polkan" flickered in the titles of the works.

The shades and colors chosen by Sergey Kuhto amazed me. At that time, I did not understand exactly what it was, but many years later everything became clear. The author selected subtle relationships of the finest nuances. He limited the palette, keeping it within the range typical of our nature. No bright open colors, only diluted with gray. After all, we have more gray weather than blazing sun.

I was captivated by his simple plots, where mighty centaurs and fragile girls walk among familiar forests and fields. This neutral atmosphere perfectly conveys the mood. Every detail, every hair, even the pure expanse of white snow is lovingly and tenderly depicted.

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Indian Summer, unfinished, canvas, oil, 1996
Rainbow, unfinished, canvas, oil, 1997

It seemed incredible to me. Is it possible to invent and create something like this with just one brush? I left the exhibition amazed and for a long time I pondered many questions. And perhaps the most important one, when will I be able to see these works again? Why is there still no permanent exhibition in Vitebsk? Why do so few people know about the centaurs living among us? They need to be shown to everyone, let them be amazed and experience a sea of emotions and impressions. After all, no photograph can ever.It cannot convey all the finest nuances of oil painting.ta-lbwps-height="1500" data-lbwps-srcsmall="">Sergey Kuhto

Unknown title, fragment



However, a keen sense of nature and mood is only part of what I see in Kukhto's paintings. There is another part, very large and significant. Sergey managed to combine our Slavic pagan beliefs with ancient Greek myths. He intertwined them into a single new space. And now I am more than sure that there were such centaurs in our legends. They once walked along the paths outside. They wore familiar coats and hats from childhood. And experienced the same things as our ancestors. It couldn't be any other way.

It is difficult to put into words what you feel. These are sensations that arise somewhere in the subconscious. They are from childhood, from solitary walks in forests and parks. They are from memories of love and tenderness. Where it's just you and her, alone in the midst of bad weather.

If you read the numerous memories of Sergey's wife, you can find out that it was such walks that inspired the author. He walked a lot. Both alone and with his wife. He absorbed everything he saw, and then conveyed his feelings and memories on canvas. Infusing the plots with his emotions and images. Quite often, he used himself as a model. That is why we see a fairly powerful angular male figure. He had a couple of mirrors in his workshop where he could look at himself from behind. And in some companions, one can recognize features of his wife. In the subsequent paintings, images of his children appear.

In general, for each painting, Sergey searched long for a model for the specific image he had in mind. And when he found one, he persuaded the person to pose. Most often they posed for a photograph. After all, working on a painting took a very long time. And the necessary mood of the model and the state of nature disappear in an instant.All the plots are so well and finely assembled, worked out, and really look truly. In his paintings, Sergey Kuhto shows himself as a part of the world, reflecting the surrounding.It reflects his nature in a kind of artist's mirror. And transforms it into a new author's myth. Exactly a myth. After all, what are myths in essence? These are projections of our lives: birth and death, love and hatred. And all this can be seen in the most diverse plots, which Sergey reflects in his works. He tries to convey the main idea of the myth through well-found images. This helps us to perceive already known mythological plots in a new way./uploads/2022/01/october_f1-540x720.jpg 540w" sizes="(max-width: 1500px) 100vw, 1500px">

October, fragment
Muddy ford, underpainting, canvas, oil, 1996

All this intertwines very delicately and creates its own unique atmosphere. Similar to which I have not encountered anywhere else. And that's not surprising. After all, such feelings and sensations arise when I contemplate the works of Sergey Kukhto. They resonate deep in the soul with warmth and pain. Perhaps such associations arise only in me. But I don't think that's the case. I'm sure something similar is emerging in you now as well, when you look at Kukhto's paintings. So linger a little longer and look at these reproductions to immerse yourself further.