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Yuri Rykovski

Yuri Rykovski

Yuri (George) Rykovski (11th of March 1893, Piotrków Trybunalski, Congress Poland, Russian Empire –30th of January 1938, Riga, Republic of Latvia) – a theatre decorator, a costume artist.

Yuri Rykovski had been connected with Riga since his early age. He studied at the construction department of Riga Politechnic Institute, however, due to the beginning of the World War I he moved to Petrograd where he enrolled into Konstantine Artillery School. Rykovski participated in military actions. Later, he spent 3 years as a prisoner of war. After his return to Riga, Rykovski worked at the studio of Teodors Zāļkalns (till 1930 - Grīnbergs). 

In 1921 the Russian Theatre resumed its work in Riga. Rykovski's brother-in-law S. Antonov helped him to find the "true calling". If Antonov was mainly an author of decorations, than Yuri Rykovski was a costume artist. His works were well-known far beyong the borders of Latvia. Foreign ballet performers were ordering costume sketches from him. For some time, Rykovski had been working as a decorator at the Polish Theatre in Riga. In 1928-1929 he was in charge of the "Free Artistic Workshops", in 1930 - of the artistic studio of the People's University in Riga. Rykovski was a member of the Society of the Graphic Artists of Riga. Apart from Riga, he exhibited his works in Prague and New-York.

Y. Rykovski received his Latvian passport in 1929, before that he obtained a certificate of a former Russian national.

Yuri Rykovski was a filister of Russian student fraternity Fraternitas Arctica. 

"Y. Rykovski loved his work in theatre with all the heart of a true artist. In this work he saw his true calling. However, apart from it he was also interested in graphics, drew with feather and drawing ink, and recently became especially fond of woodcuts and dedicated all his spare time to this type of art" - noted the newspaper "Segodnya" on the occasion of his death. 

Rykovski entered the history of Russian culture in Latvia also due to his cooperation with E. Klimov in their work of painting the walls of the church of Saint prophet John the Forerunner in 1932. Servises started taking place there already in 1929. However, the church seemed empty and comfortless. The poor parish could not dream of wall paintings. Two merchants - D. Tarasov and P. Savlovsky became the donors, while father Nikolay Shalfeev was the initiator of this project. As a result of three month work of the two artists, under the vaulted ceiling above the altar appeared the wall painting "The Holy Trinity Hailed by Angels", and the church became filled with deep spiritual content. The artists said, that their aim was to "make an attempt to restore a good tradition, but most important - to awake in the people of the current century an interest in the examples of drawing in the style of the old Byzantinian school." In 1960ies in the course of the redecorational works, the wall paintings were renewed and changed their initial look. 

Yuri Rykovski died from tuberculosis and, in accordance with his will, was burried at the Ivanovskoe cemetery in Riga. The grave was not preserved. 

Tatiana Feigmane

Sources of information:

А. Перов. Художники Ю.Рыковский и Е.Климов возрождают в Риге старую русскую стенопись. – Сегодня вечером, 1932, 27 августа.

Умер художник Ю.Рыковский. – Сегодня, 1937, 1 февраля.

Фото: ЛГИА, ф. 2996, оп. 16, д. 17724.

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