Jerusalem, Israel, April 16, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Yosef Ostrovsky is one of the best and most renowned of the Odessa artists. Indeed his name continues to be a symbol of Odessa art in the second half of the twentieth century. It is easy to recognize his works at first glance as they are both joyous and sad at the same time. Indeed, these works contain the expression of the very essence of the soul of the Jewish people. His paintings can be found in renowned museums, galleries and private art collections throughout the world.
Born in 1935 in the Ukraine, Ostrovsky’s artistic talents surfaced at an early age. He graduated from the Odessa State Academy of Art at the age of 20 and ten years later Yosef Ostrovsky was appointed to the highly prestigious Union of Artists of the USSR.
During the 1970's Ostrovsky became noted for his landscapes that featured a sense of reverence for the beauty of Russian nature, such as outlines of trees during the winter. They are often compared to the landscapes of Pieter Breugel, in that both artists show a true appreciation for the greatness, purity and beauty of nature.
His reputation reached a national level as he participated in countrywide and international exhibitions. Established artists and writers frequently visited Ostrovsky’s studio, in order to exchange views and find inspiration.
Yosef Ostrovsky always rejected definitions of his style or himself in standard terms and did not find value in "stylistic classifications". He said, "I am an artist. Not a 'classical artist', not a 'modern artist'. Just an artist. Only then I am free to express my philosophy on canvas".
Yosef Ostrovsky’s Jewish identity was the force behind his most important works. These paintings were produced between the 1970’s and 1990’s when he became influenced by early childhood memories of his Jewish heritage. He brought to life his grandfather’s prayer shawl and his mother’s lighting Sabbath candles. Images began forming in his mind, and he started to sketch and paint Jewish themes.
As he recalled the sights and symbols of his Jewish heritage, Yosef Ostrovsky painted one painting after another. These paintings became the basis of his famous "Jewish cycle”, which included mainly portraits: Jewish musicians of the shtetl, craftsmen, Jewish sages… and topical paintings that are based on motifs of Torah and Tanach.
He produced a wealth of simple, yet poignant works, so beautifully colored, so full of light, so very full of the Jewish soul.
The Jewish Cycle works are perceived as a philosophical parable, a reminder of a lost world that lived on in the artist's soul. Each of the subjects of every painting represents a distinctive Jewish character or concept, from Mark, the typical Jewish fiddler of the shtetl, to the paintings of Jerusalem, the centerpiece of the heart of every Jew. The paintings and drawings speak to the viewer in a language that he understands at first glance.
Initially, these pictures were kept hidden away in the artist’s studio. With Perestroika came the opportunity for Ostrovsky to bring these works “out of the closet” so that his many admirers throughout the world could enjoy them.
As Ostrovsky said regarding his “Jewish Cycle”: "Eternal themes concern everyone. The language of art and feeling knows no borders. The more deeply you penetrate the soul of your own nation, the more understandable your art becomes to other nations."