Fine Arts

The country's art museums keep collections of works by Belarusian artists of various eras and genres. The largest collection of paintings and sculptures can be found in the National Art Museum.

Mural painting has a long history in Belarus. The 12th century frescoes have preserved on the walls of the Holy Transfiguration Church in Polotsk. Polotsk was an important center of arts and crafts in Medieval Belarus. Here you can find unique specimens of ancient Belarusian church architecture and art. A cross made in 1161 by jeweler Lazar Bogsha on the order of Euphrosyne of Polotsk became a masterpiece of enamel art.

Belarusian secular art got a new lease on life in the 15th century. Distinctive features of Belarusian icon painting traditions started to take shape in the 16th century. The development of book printing gave rise to book xylography.

As far as the art of weaving is concerned, the most famous weaving manufactures of the 17th-18th  centuries were the Korelichi manufacture that made a name for itself for its high-quality tapestries and the Slutsk manufacture famous for woven belts made of silk, gold and silver threads.

In late 18th-19th centuries Belarusian art was influenced by Romanticism and Classicism, and later by Realism. The most outstanding representatives of that period were Jan Damel, January Suchodolski, Alfred Romer, Ivan Khrutsky, Kazimierz Bachmatowicz, Walenty Wańkowicz, Sergei Zaryanko, Jozef Oleszkiewicz, Napoleon Orda, and Artur Bartels.

Belarusian artists made waves on the international art scene when the famous UNOVIS avant-garde group (Champions of the New Art) was founded. The early 20th century saw the rise of Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich, Yudel Pen and Chaim Soutine. The artists that shaped the Belarusian art of the 20th century included Mikhail Filippovich, Roman Semashkevich, Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya, Vitaly Tsvirko, Gavriil Vashchenko, Viktor Gromyko, Mai Danzig, Pavel Maslenikov, Mikhail Savitsky and sculptors Abram Brazer, Aleksandr Grube, Mikhail Kerzin, Zair Azgur, Pyotr Belousov, Andrei Bembel, Aleksei Glebov, Sergei Selikhanov.

The applied arts are dominated by tapestry. "Tapestry of the Century" by Aleksandr Kishchenko was officially recognized the largest in the world and is listed in the Guinness World Records.

Belarus’ contemporary art is very diverse. It features photographic art, art design, performance art, and computer graphics; the genre specific spectrum is expanding. Contemporary art lovers will certainly appreciate the National Center for Contemporary Arts in Minsk.

In the 21st century Belarus’ art has retained its integrity and potential and continues to incorporate progressive elements of world culture.