Back in December 2022, he was labelled as a Russian artist, and now the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has recognized Arkhip Kuindzhi, who was born in Mariupol, as Ukrainian.

The description of his painting “Red Sunset” includes a reference to the fact that Russians destroyed a museum in Mariupol.

“Arkhip Kuindzhi, a Ukrainian artist born in Mariupol, is FINALLY recognized as a Ukrainian artist by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum has also removed the shameful reference to the artist celebrating both in Russia and Ukraine,” the historian Oksana Semenik noted.

Now, the museum’s website has the following words added to the description under the Ukrainian artist’s painting:

The site has been identified as one of Kuindzhi’s preferred subjects, the river called the Dnipro in Ukrainian (Russian, Dnieper; Belarusian, Dnyapro), which runs south through the three countries to the Black Sea. Kuindzhi was born along the coast in Mariupol, when the Ukrainian city was part of the Russian Empire. The minimalist composition and dramatic light, color, and clouds exemplify the painter’s style. In the late 1860s, Kuindzhi moved to the artistic hub of St. Petersburg, where he associated with the Peredvizhniki (sometimes translated as the Wanderers), a pioneering independent exhibition group. In the 1890s, he taught landscape painting at the Academy of Fine Arts. Dismissed for supporting student protestors, he ultimately founded his own artists’ society.

Portrait of Arkhip Kuindzhi by Gregory Kalmykov, 1910 / Photo taken in Mariupol Art Museum (May 2021) by Denys Glushko for Gwara Media

About the artist

  • Arkhip Kuindzhi (1841-1910) was born in Mariupol in the family of a poor Greek shoemaker, but his exact date of birth is unknown;
  • Kuindzhi means “master of goldsmithing” in Turkish. Although in the metric, he is recorded under the surname Emendzhi – “man of labor”.
  • Most of the artist’s works are kept in Russian state museums. Some are in galleries in Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.