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As an artist who has spent more than half his life painting and teaching art, Gheorghe Munteanu counts himself lucky to have had a chance to learn from Tatiana Yablonska, internationally recognized as one of the most important Ukrainian painters during the socialist realism period.
Munteanu was born in 1934 in Olişcani village, in the Şoldăneşti district of Moldova, about 115 miles north of Chisiau, the Moldovan capital. He graduated from the Ilya Repin College of Fine Arts in Chisinau in 1959 and from the State Institute of Arts in Kiev in 1970.
He was mobilised into the Black Sea Fleet in Sevatopol in 1956, after a nationwide revolt spread against the Hungarian government and its Soviet-imposed policies.
But the Soviet Union did not collapse at that time. And on the orders of Admiral Vladimir Kasatonov -- by chance, a big art-lover -- Munteanu continued painting while in the Navy. He was even given a chance to interrupt his service early so he could hone his skills and knowledge at the State Institute of Arts in Kiev, where he met Yablonska.
She taught him monumental art and numerous other techniques that have allowed him to make a diverse artistic journey: one that has encompassed both rural and urban landscapes, thematic paintings, still lives and portraits.
Munteanu feels attracted by the countryside, and to simple and familiar situations where ordinary people, cultivating the grapevine with care, keep their traditions and faith and live their lives in an unhurried way.
'Gorgeous autumn days for them have nothing to do with a romantic leaf fall or blue lakes, but instead evoke the hot time of harvesting', the artist says.
The classical school of monumental painting in Kiev helped the artist master the skill of drawing and achieve in his paintings a surface with tangible colours, clear compositional structures, colour transitions, an ambiance of light and air, and a picturesque and palpable harmony.
Mastering the good old-fashioned technique of oil painting and the skills of his academic school, the painter gently immerses the viewer in a real and living world.
'It is not necessary to overuse texture for the sake of texture, trying to create an effective game of illusion', the artist believes.
In spite of his commitment to realism, Munteanu's style is multifaceted. The challenges the artist undertakes have at their roots not only the his ideas but also his inner condition.
Munteanu believes every artist should be involved with the events of his time.
'Creating a painting is a very complex process', Munteanu says. 'No one knows in which way success might lie, but it is true that the longer you carry an idea in your thoughts, the more easily you can express it.'