Olena Malakova’s Bulgakoviana

Kyivite Olena Heorhiivna Malakova, member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, has long been an admirer of Mikhail Bulgakov’s creative work, especially his novel Master and Margarita.

Olena inherited a wonderful talent for painting, which showed as she was a child, from her artist father, as well as the sense of humor, the ability to empathize with literary heroes, and the ability to feel the zest of the described twists and turns.

This can be traced in the works dedicated to the famous novel.

In 1984, when the solo exhibit of the works of Merited Artist of Ukraine Heorhii Malakov (1928-79) was underway in Moscow, Olena visited the “ill-fated apartment No. 50 in Sadovaya 302-bis.”

While impressions were still fresh, she created the first picture of Cat Behemoth and Woland, a colored composition dedicated to the author of these lines and dated October 13 of the same year.

When five years later the restoration works started in 13, Andriivsky uzviz, the project guided by architect Iryna Malakova, the admirers of Bulgakov’s works got enthusiastic over the idea to create the writer’s museum, Olena created a plaster bust of the Master and two original bookplates.

The first book sign of the future museum was published on March 1990 by art expert Petro Nesterenko in the weekly Friend of Reader.

Another sign marked with the number 91 (the year in the 19th and 20th centuries, centennial from the Master’s birth), included in a miniature publication, two-volume The Master and Margarita, which went off prints in 2006 at the Kyi Publishing House.

A symbolical fact in a sense is that the first edition of this novel included four illustrations by Heorhii Malakov created back in January 1967 under the impression from the work, which was published in the Moscow magazine and became famous soon after that. He was impressed by anti-Soviet moods which were slightly disguised in the book, but could be easily read between the lines.

On the occasion of another Day of Kyiv, Olena made Behemoth of the material at hand, and for the period of May-July 1990 it was sitting in a pompous manner on the edge of the roof of the house, “splendidly built,” drawing attention of the passersby.

This Cat by Olena Malakova was immortalized by director Anatolii Syrykh in his documentary Mikhail Bulgakov. Kyiv Dreams.

The author of these lines received a real telegram about “Likhodeyev’s behavior” in Yalta (my niece Olena was recreating there).

In 2003 Olena Malakova created a few illustrations to the novel Master and Margarita which are published in this issue.

The chequered man in Patriarch’s Ponds recalls: “When he opened them he saw that it was all over, the mirage had dissolved, the chequered figure had vanished and the blunt needle had simultaneously removed itself from his heart.”

And here Margarita meets the stranger: “‘A face like a crook,’ thought Margarita, as she stared at her street interlocutor.”

The third illustration is maid Natasha’s flight on the Pig: “She dug her heels into the pig’s thin flanks, sending it flying forward. In a moment Natasha could only be seen as a dark spot far ahead and as she vanished altogether the swish of her passage through the air died away.”

Today Olena Malakova offers for the readers of The Day her illustrations to The Master and Margarita in gouache. We have attached to them the quotations from the book:

“‘My dear Stepan Bogdanovich,’ said the visitor with a shrewd smile. ‘Aspirin will do you no good. Follow a wise old rule – the hair of the dog.”

“The girl increased her efforts, pushed her auburn head through the little upper pane, stretched out her arm as far as she could and began to pluck at the lower catch with her fingernails and shake the frame. Her arm, colored deathly green, started to stretch as if it were made of rubber.”

“The whole of Gethsemane rang with the song of nightingales. Nobody knows where the men who stabbed Judas went, but the path of the hooded man is known.”

Hopefully, the author of these unique illustrations to The Master and Margarita will continue to turn to this topic.