Michal Škrovina’s childhood country

Michal Škrovina’s childhood country

Marta Pastieriková

Michal Škrovina is a significant representative of naïve art in Slovakia. Even though he was brought up an urban child, he spent much of his free time with his grandparents in the countryside. The traditional village environment influenced not only his life but also his later creations. His artistic talents and technical outlook brought him to study architecture in Bratislava and Prague. His first picture on glass – Madonna with Child – was painted in 1973.

Michal Škrovina’s pictures display the author’s signature and his specific ideas and are simply unmistakable. They display comfort, tranquillity and the happiness of life. The author is very familiar with painting art, is educated, but despite that his creation has its roots in naïve poetry. This method of artistic expression is very close to his heart; he does not do it on purpose but it is inside of him, in his deepest inside.

From the point of topic, his pictures are very variable. As first he started to paint sacral expressions known from icons (St. George) and folk paintings on glass (Madonna with Child, the Last Supper, Three Kings, Adam and Eve). However, he depicted these topics in his own way, and later supplemented them with new topics previously unknown to folk art (Jonas and the Whale, the Sermon on the Mount).

The basis of his works are represented by pictures from a typical village environment closely connected to him from his childhood, some from talking to older people and many from his personal experiences. These are, for example, skating on a frozen river, sleighing, picking mushrooms and raspberries, shaking walnuts from a tree, picking potatoes and the traditional harvest, killing a pig, cutting trees in the forest, grazing cows and sheep. The author is strongly influenced by activities such as watching over and protecting the harvest against fire, fire brigade training as well as destructive elements such as flood or fire. Folk wedding, Easter customs, Christmas market or traditional carnival masks hold an extraordinary beauty for him. He often paints real people from his childhood – interesting figures with remarkable life stories. Some pictures (Talks, Wedding etc.) are like written stories or interesting books. You have to stand in front of them and very slowly and carefully “read” them. The organic parts of his works are moving figures which fulfil the function of wooden toys and at the same time are interesting artistic objects.

In cooperation with ULUV, he leads successful courses of traditional glass painting for the public.