Museum of the Belarusian Folk Art

The Museum of the Belarusian Folk Art in Raubichi was opened at the end 1979. It is located in the former Krestogorsk Roman catholic church, built in 1862, and is located near by atheletic building on biathlone "Raubichi" 24 kilometers from Minsk.

To the moment of the creation of the museum Krestogrsk Roman catholic church, built in pseudo-Gothic style, was nearly completely ruined. Restoration was led by the group of architects of the Special research-and-production restoration workshops of the Ministry of Culture of the BSSR under direction of the Chief architect S. Drushits. Reconstruction of the building and designing of the equipment was realized by "Belgiprotorg" institute . The group was under direction of the Honoured Architect of the Republic V. Aladov.

The first acquaintance of the visitors of the museum with public art begins already on stairway, leading to the constant exhibition. Two platforms of the stairway are equiped with special barriers-shop windows, which present dolls from flax in the national cloth and wooden coffers, inlaid with straw.

From stairway spectators fall into introductory hall, where stand the wooden pews, long table. This premises is for the school occupations, work of the masters of the public art. Thence, the spectator come into the constant exhibition.

In different years the Museum of the Belarusian Folk Art in Raubichi was headed by Tatiana Stepina, Valentina Pisarenko, Svetlana Krel, Olga Zalutskaya.

The exhibition of the museum introduces with traditional peasant art of the 16 - early 20th century and with works of modern masters, working in the most wide-spread type of the public art - weaving, pottery, carving and painting on wood, straw wickerwork and vines. The exhibits are in the closet-shop window of 2 meter height. Six small carrying shop windows breaks certain monotony of the utter shop-front line. The pews with cross-bar backs, decorated by carving occupy middle of the hall. The pews were organically inserted in the interior and terminated the decoration of the whole hall. When designing the museum it was immediately provided possibility for organization of the concerts. On the white background of the walls the dark furniture looks solemnly. The upper belt is more light: four forged chandeliers, solved in tradition of old-time lighting armature of the cult buildings, and stained-glass windows. The strict color combination of the black chandeliers and light arcs brighten the multi-coloured stained-glass windows, on coloring very close to the national folk weaving.

Weaving is one of the most ancient types of folk art. Ways of processing flax and wool, technology and ways of weaving, types of cloth, as well as customs and rites, in which homespun tableclothes, towels, shirts, braided and weaved belts take significant place, were formed for centuries. Exhibition presents peasant suits of the late 19 - early 20th cc., towels and decorative fabrics of the 20th century from different regions of Belarus.

Unique character of the public clothes is dictated by its purpose and local tastes. For Belarus it is traditional light linen fabrics with red pattern. Shirts, fronts, headdresses in the collection of the museum, in spite of traditional character of accomodation of the ornament and prevalence of the geometric patterns, varied and have brightly expressed regional particularities. Having all known techniques of fabrics, using basically combination of the bleached and non-bleached flax with red cotton wool threads, weavers obtained the amazing variety of the decor.

Products from woolly fabrics - spreads and skirts - multicolored. They are executed by the most simple ways of the entanglement of threads. Variants are reached by the combination of the multicoloured threads. Appearance in the Belarusian village in the 80s of the 19th century of the factory fabrics and artificial dye staffs has to a considerable extent influenced upon coloring of fabric products and the nature of the cloth. The old-time fabric headdress of the towel type is displaced by factory silk, calico and woolly multicoloured kerchiefs. From factory fabrics - broadcloth, velvet, silk - the sleeveless jackets are made, decorating their by braid, deftly weaving in the pattern metallic buttons and knobs.

Natural evolution of the ornament, coloring and technology of spread weaving. Their artistic look was formed in the first half of the 20th century. For modern fabrics is typical large ornamental forms and contrasting use of colour.

Holy Gates of the late 18 - early 19th centuries is exhibited near traditional utensils. Master uses several elements of the wickerwork, from which forms the elaborated pattern from jagged strokes and squares of different sizes. A bit of bright colour broadcloth is in the middle of each square. Golden straw serves it as special setting, and the bit of colour fabrics begins to shine, as a semiprecious stone. Holy Gates is a certificate highly developed art of the straw wickerwork, which the Belarusian masters possessed from old times.

Modern artists have saved the traditional handicraft industry. At fabrication of the small boxes and baskets they use the same ways of the wickerwork, as their predecessors in the 18th century .

Art of the wickerwork in the Republic became actively develop for the last thirty years. The exhibition presents all known with old times ways of straw use in the artistic creative activity: aplique work on fabrics, home subjects, dolls, toys. Their creators work at different artistic enterprises of the Republic, each master has favourite subjects and images, attitude to the material.

Belarusian masters contributed a significant contribution to the history of art of wood-carving. "Belarusian wood-carving" is mentioned in the document of the 17th century, when Belarusian carvers, decorating iconostasis at Izmailovo, Donskoy and Novodevichiyev monasteries, executing fretworks in the Kolomno palace, started to work under "Chamber of carved and joiner's business" in Moscow state.

Works of the rural masters, who worked on order of their fellow-countrymen, from Negnevichy, Zabolotya, Mezhevichy: carved Holy Gates, sculpture of the 18th - early 20th centuries is of great interest at the recent exhibition. They, even at difference of the creative manners, saved general line, characteristic to all works of public masters. They are united by the knowledge of plastic characteristics of the material. By the end of the 19th century old-time art of wood-carving was saved only by separate masters. They cut sculpture for rural churches, as well as dolls for public theatre -batleyka. Great group of wood monuments forms the home peasant utensils and labour instruments. Already to the 11th - early 13th centuries Belarusians had all ways of wood processing - carving, cooper's craft, knew the lathe.

Modern art of wood-carving is presented by works of the well-known in the Republic amateur carvers - A. Pupko, K. Olshevsky, K. Kozelko, who continued glorious traditions of the Belarusian carving.

Potteries in the collection of the museum pertain the 20th century. But it is possible by them to form the image about the forms of peasant utensils and their use in the life of Belarusians in past. Pots and макитры for preparation of the food, tureens for meal, pitchers and milk jugs for milk, гляки and слоики for keeping of the products, whistles and clay toys of the master decorated in the most simple way, known by all potters of the world: обваркой, томлением, painting on terra-cotta surface, covering by glaze.

Home potter's utensils of the Belarusians practically has no painting. Decorative effect is reached by elementary ways. The innate feeling of the form, professional possession of the material prompt the master necessary variant of decoration. Чернолощеная ceramics of Pruzhany, light, terra-cotta with red painting from concentric circle and "commas" containers of Gorodno, Gordok utensils, covered by liberally splashed by colour glaze on the form, it is rather various and attract, first of all, by its functionality and simplicity of decoration.

Special group of monuments in the exhibition are works from Ivenets factory, which of small do-it-yourself artel changed in the leading centre of artistic pottery in Belarus. Works of one of the creators to artel in Ivenets - V. Kulikovsky, as well as I. Molchanovich, M. Zverko, A. Prokopovich, working in the tradition of old Ivenets ceramics and reviving the forgotten art of the fabrication of figured containers in the manner of ram, bears, bisons are presented in the museum.

Public art of the Belarusians is inimitable. It inherents softness and lyricism in decision of image, amazing delicacy of coloring decisions, care of work, skill by simple ways from the most available material to create the authentic masterpieces.