Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Marchuk, Ivan - VM - Anna Mgaloblishvili

Ivan Marchuk: Woman with a Candle

Luminous Hearts

by Anna Mgaloblishvili

Ivan Marchuk is an Ukrainian artist, born in the Ukrainian village Moskalivka. He later developed his own ‘Plentanizm’ technique, using paint strokes to create a textural, voluminous, colorful image that is a woven blend of life and mystical experiences. The name comes from the Ukrainian word plontati, braiding. The artist explains: “These paintings are designed for meditation, they give peace and calm.”

Woman with a Candle represents a woman with a lamp in her hands. The work is done in a warm brownish-reddish color palette. Unusual and mysterious, it evokes allusions to Rembrandt’s works, who is one of the painter’s favorite artists. At first glance everything is plain and lucid, but then step by step while observing the work we slowly realize that a myriad of questions emerge: does the depicted figure actually hold the lamp in her hand? Is this lamp something that belongs to her? Are the hands, pictured so realistically, in the posture of prayer? Or maybe they are caring for the light? It is even difficult to say whether these hands belong to the character depicted in the picture.

The only thing that is beyond any doubt is the light of this lamp, the miraculous light. The more you stare, the more it warms you. The more you gaze, the brighter the light glows. The longer you observe, the more confident you are that it is the True Light.

Symbolically the lamp is a human body. A burning lamp is the luminous light of a human being whose heart is wise, who knows the grace of patience and is ready for the just fight, who is always ready to meet a miracle and never succumbs to injustice, who never remains indifferent as she/he knows love.

It is said that supernatural spiritual beings while looking towards the earth do not discern nationalities, borders of countries, faces of people. The only thing they sense is the light, the light of radiant human beings.  Each light is a life of a human being.


Ivan Marchuk: Woman with a Candle, 1987, acryl on canvas, 100 ×100 cm.

Ivan Marchuk is an Ukrainian artist who was born in 1936 in the Soviet Period. In 1956-1965 he studied at the Lviv College of Decorative and Applied Arts. Since 1965 he lived and worked in Kyiv. Without official recognition in Soviet Ukraine and while he was not admitted to the Union of Artists, Marchuk gained fame as the informal leader of the Ukrainian artistic underground. In 1988 he emigrated to Australia, then lived in Canada and the United States, where he received wide recognition. In 1990 Marchuk visited Ukraine for his first official exhibition in Kyiv in the Ukrainian State Art Museum of Fine Arts, now the National Art Museum of Ukraine. In 1996 Ivan Marchuk became People’s Artist of Ukraine. In 1997 he won the national award of Taras Shevchenko. In 2001 Marchuk returned to Ukraine. In 2006 the International Academy of Modern Art in Rome included Marchuk in the ‘Golden Guild’ as an honorary member of the Scientific Council of the Academy. Today the ‘Golden Guild’ includes 51 artists from all over the world. In 2007 Ivan Marchuk was included in the list of ‘A hundred geniuses of our time’ by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. Ivan Marchuk lives and works in Kiev.

Anna Mgaloblishvili  is a Georgian painter and art historian. She studied painting at the Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts. She has regularly participated in exhibitions in Georgia and abroad and has curated several art projects. In 2004 she received her Ph.D. in art history. Her thesis was about the development of church painting in Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century (1900-1921). Part of the work was done at the University of Athens, Greece. Since 2006 she has been a professor in the Department of Art History and Theory at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts.

ArtWay Visual Meditation May 1, 2022