Mikhail Khmelko (Kiev, 23 October 1919 – 15 January 1996)
h 81×112 cm
Sketch for the film The Battle of Stalingrad (Сталинградская битва) directed by Vladimir Petrov, 1949–1950.
Son of a working-class family, he approaches the world of Art at a very young age. In 1943 he is a pupil of Karp Trokimenko at the Art Institute of Kiev.
He graduates in 1946, after having attended drawing and painting classes also at the Art Institute of Odessa. He rapidly starts a long and successful exhibition carrier, proceeding in the name of Socialist Realism.
He takes part as Cartographer, in the Great Patriotic War, frequently representing, later on, these war episodes in his drawings and painting; becoming one of the principal means to describe and exalt the Soviet Patriotism. In 1948 he became Professor at the same Art of Institute of Kiev, where he had graduated, holding the Chair of Painting until 1973.
He was a member of the Communist Party since 1954. He was awarded with many prizes and honors: Order of the Patriotic War, II class (1945); Stalin Award II class (1948) for the film “The Great Russian People!”, Stalin Award, I class (1950) for the painting “The Triumph of the Victorious Homeland”, Artist of the USSR People (1963); Hermetic Artist of Ukraine (1951); Order of Lenin; Order of the Red Labor Flag. From 1951 to 1957 he directed the Union of Ukraine Artists, from which he was later removed. One of his works which is very famous in his country but less known abroad is the Diorama “Medical Care in the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Armed Forces” painted for the Medical Museum of Kiev.
Some of his most famous paintings are: “To the Great Russian people!” (1947), and “Forever with Russia, Forever with the Russians” (1951),
kept in the Ukraine National Museum of Kiev.