Shcherbakivsky, Danylo

Image - Danylo Shcherbakivsky

Shcherbakivsky, Danylo [Щербаківський, Данило; Ščerbakivs’kyj], b 17 December 1877 in Shpychyntsi, Skvyra county, Kyiv gubernia, d 6 June 1927 in Kyiv. Ethnographer, art scholar, archeologist, and museologist; brother of Vadym Shcherbakivsky. After studying at Kyiv University (1897–1901) he taught history at the Uman gymnasium (1906–10), collected articles of folk art and crafts for museums in Kyiv and Poltava, and conducted archeological digs in Right-Bank Ukraine. As head of the historical folkways and folk art departments of the Kyiv City Museum of Antiquities and Art (later the All-Ukrainian Historical Museum and now the National Museum of the History of Ukraine) from 1910, he enriched its holdings with about 30,000 new objects and proposed for the first time to treat works of folk art as art objects in their own right. In 1923 he traveled to Moscow to save 5,000 ‘nationalized’ gold and silver objects that had been removed from Ukrainian churches. He was one of the founders and the scientific secretary of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts, chairman of its Department of Folk Art, a cofounder and a member of the Ethnographic Commission of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (from 1920), scientific secretary of the arts section of the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv (from 1921), vice-chairman of the All-Ukrainian Archeological Committee (from 1924), and founder of the Kyiv Ethnographic Society (est 1924). He also lectured on folk art and the history of Ukrainian art at the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts and the new Kyiv Archeological Institute, the Kyiv Institute of People's Education, the Kyiv Architecture Institute, and the Kyiv State Art Institute and conducted art seminars at the All-Ukrainian Historical Museum. Devastated by the removal of many objects from the Historical Museum and their secret sale, and by his persecution and the undermining of his work at the museum by the Communist authorities, he committed suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Dnipro River.

Over 40 of Shcherbakivsky’s works have been published. Several dozen of his manuscripts still await publication. His chief works are a study of the Kozak-Mamai theme in Ukrainian painting in Siaivo (1913); studies of Ukrainian wooden church architecture and symbolism in Ukrainian art in the collection of the arts section of the Ukrainian Scientific Society (1921); and books on serf orchestras, choirs, and kapellen in Ukraine (1924), Ukrainian portraiture (1925, with Fedir Ernst), book covers by 17th- and 18th-century Kyivan engravers (1926), Galician and Bukovynian wooden churches, chapels, crosses, and figures (L'Art d'Ukraine, 1926), and the Ukrainian kilims (1927).

Vadym Pavlovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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