Kopystynsky, Teofil [Kopystyns’kyj], b 15 April 1844 in Peremyshl, Galicia, d 5 July 1916 in Lviv. (Self-portrait: Teofil Kopystynsky.) Monumentalist painter and portraitist. A graduate of the Cracow School of Fine Arts (1871) and the Vienna Academy of Art (1872), he spent his life painting churches, iconostases, and icons in Lviv and the surrounding villages. His more important works have been preserved: the murals of the wooden church in Batiatychi, the altar icon of the Transfiguration in the Church of the Transfiguration in Lviv, The Crucifixion (1902) in Saints Cyril and Methodius's Church in Sokolia near Busk, the murals (1911–12) of Saint Michael's Church in Rudnyky, and the iconostases in the churches in Zhovtantsi, Batiatychi, Zhydachiv, Myklashiv (1908), and Synevidsko Vyzhnie. He was also recognized as a restorer and conservator of old art. From 1878 to 1899 Kopystynsky restored a number of religious masterpieces: the Byzantine altar icon of the Annunciation in Zahiria; two 17th-century paintings under the arcades of the Dormition Church in Lviv, Jerusalem and the Holy Land and Atons’ka Hora (Mount Athos); the frescoes in Saint Martin's Church and the altar of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows (both Roman Catholic churches in Lviv); the frescoes of the Wawel Cathedral in Cracow; the murals of the Lubomirski chapel at the Dominican Church and the 17th-century sacristy of Saint Mary's Church in Cracow. In 1888 he cleaned and restored 150 old Ukrainian icons at the Stauropegion Institute's museum in Lviv. Kopystynsky established a reputation as a master portraitist with such works as the portraits of I. and L. Kovshevych (1867), Amvrosii Yanovsky, Bishop Ivan Stupnytsky, and his Portrait of a Dalmatian Lady (1872). From 1872 to 1895 he painted 17 portraits of prominent Ukrainian social and cultural figures of the 19th century, as well as Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny and Metropolitan Petro Mohyla.
Kopystynsky was a leading illustrator in Western Ukraine. He illustrated the religious semimonthly Poslannyk (1889–1911), the children's magazine Dzvinok (Bell, 1890–1914), the Prosvita calendar (kalendar), and Ivan Franko's Lys Mykyta (Mykyta the Fox) and Pryhody Don-Kikhota (The Adventures of Don Quixote). He painted numerous canvases, including Hutsul from Lypovytsia, Grandfather, Blind Man with Guide, In a Peasant Cottage, and Kolomyiky. Kopystynsky taught drawing in secondary schools in Lviv and participated in the exhibitions of the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts. His works have been preserved in Lviv's National Museum and in private collections.
Tkachenko, M. Teofil Kopystyns’kyi (Kyiv 1972)
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine