Narbut, Georgii

Narbut, Georgii Ivanovich


Born Feb. 14 (26), 1886, on the khutor (farmstead) of Narbutovka, in present-day Glukhov Raion, Suma Oblast; died May 23, 1920, in Kiev. Russian and Ukrainian graphic artist.

From 1906 to 1917, Narbut lived in St. Petersburg. His artistic style formed under the influence of the World of Art group, which he joined in 1910. He was particularly influenced by one group member, I. Ia. Bilibin, under whom he studied. Narbut’s works, which consisted primarily of illustrations and book designs, are noted for meticulously executed contours and decorative composition (for example, his illustrations for the tale How the Mice Buried the Cat, published 1910). The artist used somewhat stylized motifs in the Empire style and black silhouettes (for example, his illustrations to Krylov’s fables, published 1911–12).

After 1915, Narbut adopted Ukrainian baroque traditions and ornamental and heraldric elements of old Ukrainian engravings (for example, his illustrations for G. K. Lukomskii’s The Ancient Architecture of Galicia, published 1915). In 1917, Narbut moved to Kiev, where he subsequently became the first important master of Soviet Ukrainian graphics. He designed the book Ukrainian Alphabet (1917–18, unpublished) and the journals Mystetstvo (Art) and Zori (Stars). In his designs he made wide use of folk motifs. Narbut usually worked in india ink and water-color.


Georgii Narbut: Posmertnaia vystavka proizvedenii. Kharkov, 1926.
Bilets’kyi, P. Heorhii Ivanovych Narbut. Kiev, 1959.