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The Scythian Postmodern in the Creative Activities of V. Bakhtov

Updated on November 28, 2017
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Mykola has teaching experience in French and English for 35 years. He is interested in excursion as the method of teaching.

Key Words

Art, Scythian, Greek, Persian, project, painter, etching, drawing, colorful clay, paper, illustration, land-art, zoobodyart

Aims of the Article

These materials are destined for students of archaeological, historical, art faculties of Universities for which English is a foreign language. It attempts to integrate the knowledge from the history and archaeology by means of art and English. Besides, the artistic interpretation of history, i.e. creative activities of Ukrainian painter Volodymir Bakhtov, becomes the method of recognition , as the parallel to rational operations. Works with English resources helps to organize content of enigmatic Scythian culture and shows its influence on further development of world civilization.As the evaluation of this culture and its interpretation the essay about creative activities of the artist is proposed to write at the end of this work according to the algorithm.

Volodymir Bakhtov, Ukrainian Painter


Volodymyr Bakhtov, born in 1954.

He was graduated from the Graphic Arts Faculty of Odessa Pedagogical Institute. He was working out a surrealistic approach at the beginning of his artistic activity, realized in his etching and oil paintings.

Thanks to influence of ancient myths, Greek and Scythian, he creates his own original style. The works of V.Bakhtov were exhibited in Ukraine, Russia, the Western countries.

Nowadays, he elaborates with his wife Tetyana the project "The Olbio mysteries", the south paradigm of Mediterranian region where they try to construct a synthetic sight as unity of archeo-art, land art, body-art, performance, and art-photo.

Volodymir Bakhtov is Honoured Painter of Ukraine. Lives in Parutino, near Mykolayiv.

Mykolayiv, Parutino:
Николаев, Николаевская область, Украина, 54000

get directions

‘For when men have no stablished cities or fortresses, but all are house-bearers and mounted archers, living not by tilling the soil but by cattle-rearing and carrying their dwellings on wagons, how should these not be invincible and unapproachable?’ (Histories, Book 4)Herodotus

Video N*1: Who Are They, Scythians?

Answer and make up the Questions According to the Video N1*

After watching this video several times, answer the questions, please:

.1.Where did the Scythians live?

.2. What family of languages is Iranian dialect part of?

.3. From what language is the term kurgan borrowed?

.4. From where might the Scythians have migrated?

.5. What are the three great barbarian peoples of the ancient world in Eastern Europe?

Continue make up questions.

Scythian Warrior

Ideology of Scythian Tribes, Scientific Introduction

The ideology of the tribes inhabited the stepped-belt of Eurasia in the first millennium B.C, has not been studied thoroughly enough. This is due to the scarcity and character of the extant sources. In order to reconstruct there religious and mythological ideas and notions of these tribes, animal style artifacts are being studied as a rule. However, the range of the offered interpretations of the semantics of these artifacts demonstrates to some extent a groundless nature of these interpretations. Hence, it is not the animal style artifacts that at this stage form the foundation for the reconstruction of the mythology of the steppe-belt tribes, but on the contrary, the reconstruction of this mythology on this basis of studying other sources that may enable to comprehend the semantics of animal style. The data necessary for this reconstruction are most fully represented in Pontic Scythia.

They can be taken in the works by ancient authors containing short summaries of Scythian myths, often distorted or fragmentary, and in an analysis of the content of anthropomorphous compositions, adorning various artifacts, made by both Greek and Scythian masters and found during the archaeological study of Scythia.

The Legend about Scytians

The legend about the origin of the Scythian presented in different versions and with varying degree of completeness by Herodotes (IV, 5-7, 8-10), Diodorus (II, 43), Valerius Flaccus (Arg. ,VI, 48-68 and 621-656) and in an epigraphic source (IG, XIV, 1293A, II. 94-97) is most thoroughly analyzed.

This legend is the central cosmogonist myth of Scythian mythology. According to Scythian cosmogony , reflected in this legend, the initial stage of the forming of Universe was the conjugal union between the celestial god Papaios and goddess Api, the latter having been an embodiment of the lower, chthonic world, a personification of the water elements and life-giving earth. Targitaos, born of this union, was the first man and the god, who personified the middle zone of the Cosmos, the material world, the world, the world of human beings.

His birth signified the establishment of cosmic order, a three-tier organization of the Universe Horizontally, the model of the organization of the world was a rectangular figure with equal sides, similar to the ancient Indian idea of the four “guardians of the world” and elaborating Herodotus’ data about the configuration of Scythia (Herod., IV,101).


In the VII-III rd centuries B.C. the territory within the boundaries of the contemporary Ukraine was populated by agricultural (settled) and cattle-breeding) nomadic tribes o which the Scythians, speaking an Iranian dialect, were known best. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus the Scythians had come on the VIII th century B.C. from beyond the Don to the Northern Black Sea territory and conquered the local agricultural tribes living in the steppes between the Don and Danube and set up a huge social association known in history as Scythia.

At the same period local agricultural tribes of another ethnic origin lived between the Middle Dniester and the Dnieper .Some of those tribes are referred by contemporary scientist to Protoslavs.

Greek settlements (colonies) appeared on the Northern coast of the Black Sea in the VII th – V th centuries B.C. The largest of them were Olbia in the Dnieper – Bug estuary, Thira on the bank of the Dniester lagoon, Panticapey on the site of contemporary Sebastopol. In 480 year B.C. the Greek towns of the south-east part of the Crimean peninsula united into the Bosporus kingdom with the town of Panticapey as the capital.

The tribes that inhabited Scythia willingly maintained exchange of commodities with the Greek colonies (towns) of the Northern Black Sea coast territory. According to Herodotus and other antique writers, as well as on the base of archaeological materials discovered during excavations of the settlements, sites of ancient towns and burial-mounds one can ascertain which commodities the Greek merchants had brought to Scythia.

Also Scythians were founders of guerrilla war against powerful Persians which had to leave those steppes defeated.

Scythian Art, Especial Features

In general, the art of Scythians integrated Eastern and Hellenic influences, especially of Greek colonies on the Northern Black Sea coast. This combination determines the Scythian culture as universal and unique system at the same time.The Scythian artifacts of mounds (kurhan in Ukrainian language) in Southern Ukraine was either transporting from Greece or made by talented Hellenic and Scythian artisans. The Scythian mythology was often neighboring with Greek decoration, ornamented by geometrical elements and images from Greek legends.

Scythian Pectoral

Wild Boar



Gold Comb

Fragment of the Vase

Gold Statuette

Tatoo lines drawings of Scythians

Scythian Goddess


Definition of graphic

1a :of or relating to the pictorial arts; also :pictorial:of, relating to, or involving such reproductive methods as those of engraving, etching, lithography, photography, serigraphy, and woodcut:of or relating to the art of printingd :relating or according to graphics 2:formed by writing, drawing, or engraving

  • graphic inscriptions

3usually graphic:marked by clear lifelike or vividly realistic descriptionb :vividly or plainly shown or described

  • a graphic sex scene

usually graphical 5:of or relating to the written or printed word or the symbols or devices used in writing or printing to represent sound or convey meaning

  • the graphic symbols of the ancient Egyptians


play \ˈgra-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb—


play \ˈgra-fik-nəs\ noun

The Definition of Etching

[ C ] a picture produced by printing from a metal plate that has been etched with acid

The Definition of Drawing

Definition of drawing

1:an act or instance of drawing; especially :the process of deciding something by drawing lots:the art or technique of representing an object or outlining a figure, plan, or sketch by means of lines:something drawn or subject to drawing: such as:an amount drawn from a fundb :a representation formed by drawing :sketch

The Term Light Painting, synonym to Geliograffiti


(countable and uncountable, plural light paintings)

  1. (uncountable) The artistic technique of moving a light source to selectively illuminate parts of the subject or scene a camera is recording (at a slow shutter speed), or to shine directly into the camera and in this way sketch.
  2. (uncountable) Camera painting, the artistic technique of moving a camera (while it records at a low shutter speed) such that light sources appear in multiple places or as streaks in the resulting photograph, the "painting".
  3. (countable) A painting created using one of these techniques.
  4. Used other than as an idiom: see light,‎ painting.

English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA license.

The Credo of the Artist

The image world of V.Bakhtov is not only original aesthetically but it is very unexpected also.The painter invites us to the researching of a human nature through immersing in heart of epochs, to a certain reconstruction of archetypes, prints of mythological memory. The Bakhtov 's phenomenon gave way to the deciphering at the level of ancient pentagrams, fatalistic signs. There are mysterious pictures of ancient times where beds of rivers dried, but shadows of rivers were left, and shadows of voices, and voices of shadows, all features of discovered and undiscovered human existence.


Spring, acryl, waxtempera, 110-91, 1992

Etching Expedition "Black Sea"

Warm Stone, The mysteries of Olbia, etching

The Birth of Storm, etching

Papai, ScythianGod

Tabiti-Hostia , Scythian Goddess


Scythian God Tagimasad

The Hunting of Scythians

The Sea

Rushy Coast, oil, acryl, 90-106, 1993

Attack of Scythian Cavalry, illustration

Gifts of Scythians to the Persian Tsar Dariy, illusration

Scythian Tsar Skil in Olbia, illustration

Scythian Phylosoph Anaksarsis, illustration

Understanding of Herodotus

It was written and printed very much about Herodotus, father of history, and his epochal work "History" in nine books. During all time plots from the texts of Herodotus were used for creation of artistic phenomena. But no one polygraphing edition of his "History" exists made especially by somebody of painters.

Volodymir Bakhtov illustrates the book number four "Melpomena", the first part of which is important for the history of Eastern Europe, its pre-Slavonic epoch. It explains customs and myths, describes geography and historical events connected with Scythians and neighboring with them tribes.

Picturesqueness of description , rich images, and remarkable trustworthiness became the ground for illustrations. The qualified help of scientific workers of the Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine such as A. Rusyaeva, V. Murzin, E.Tchernenko,permits the author to pass the truth in details about the culture of Scythians, Greeks, Persians. His illustrative reconstructions promote understanding of images created by Herodotus

In Researching of Light, paper, clay, bitumen

Animation of Phidies

About this project

In the project "Animation of Phidies" (animation as metamorphose of dead materials into living ones) its author was beginning an artistic play with the antique notion of fleshiness and was remaking the artistic system of ancient Greeks as vice-versa. In place of painted sculptures in the friezes, pediments of Phidies the painter includes living girls and boys painting them by different colour clay, and laying high reliefs from the living bodies directly on the terrace of his House in Olbia or in the reliefs of Olbian banks.It would be the sign of equality between real and artistic fleshiness.The student girls, archaeologists, change into maenads and goddesses, the student boys into antique heroes, infinitely fighting each other and with Amazones."Greek" compositions and the reference to Phidies permit to the man not having profound knowledge in Greek art enter into the play of interpretations. Proximity to a spectator is determined by the fact that every person may pretends to be sculptures, in principle. Here the author steps back from the Greek idealization and his heroes and goddesses don't possess always classical proportions, the girls are from archaeological expedition simply, early morning excavating an ancient town, and not models from agency.

Video N*2: Geliograffiti

Summary of the Video N*2, Method of Geliograffiti

V.Bakhtov created with his wife Tetyana fire images with torches reproducing architectural objects or constructing fire Greek or Scythian homes, streams, forests. The action itself is like to an enigmatic dance but cameras fix accomplished fire configurations firmly. Geliograffiti is made in the period of a full moon, when a surrounding landscape is lightened by the natural moonshine.

The Scythian Square

The Scythian Square, Illustrations to Herodotus

The Road of Orphay

Abduction of the Amazone, Bodyart. Project "Animation of Phidies"

Abduction of Amazone, painting, acryl, 115-173, 2005

The Marble Relief

Marble Relief. Olbian Mysteries

The colour of terracotta, i.e. of burnt land, became one of the main means of expressiveness, which bears a symbolic, unique source. The bodies of goddesses and surrounding relief are of one colour, the colour of the Olbian clay. Bakhtovs accomplish the ritual of initiation into the mystery of Earth's Goddess while researching in relief of Olbian coast picturesque lots which have something common with plasticity of the human body, covering with clay their models, draping them in textiles drawn off by the watery land. The great body of the Earth and the little one of the woman are taught by Ancients as something identical, and no doubt, the Earth is interpreted as living , breathing being. Hence , this timid attitude to the Earth, that it is characteristic for archaic conscience. Mysteries of Bakhtov received a new ecological sounding, a careful attitude to the Earth.


Bodyart has been existing for thousand years. Nowadays it moved from the magic, symbolic sphere to the artistic one. But the body of a man is the main object of aesthetic and meaningful fantasies. The project Zoo.Body.Art. equalizes in rights with men for exalted feelings horses from Mykolayiv horse stud.

The Ruins of Olbia (6th Century BC to 4th Century AD)

House of Bakhtovs

House of Bakhtov

Bakhtov House

The old city for Vladymir and Tetyana Bakhtovs is as ground, as a cultural object. They are realizing it in form of the Bakhtov House. The essential idea of it is to return the ancient feelings of plasticity, "the spirit of place" in form of the environment and the body.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Adjectives of colours
to engrave
to radiate
to paint
sense of colour
to draw
to be on display
to be drawn to
fluid drapery
to interlace
contrasting tones
to design
coloured patches
to penetrate
minute delineation
dull grey
to enclose
to convey
pearly grey
to endow
sanguine (crayon)
to represent
light and shade
turquoise lueb
to set down
hand, brush
red, blue, yellow- primary colours
to evoke
a riot of colours

Adjectives for describing of images

Without adjectives, descriptions would be so limited that you could never talk about colours, tastes, sizes, or shapes. Consider the descriptions in the following two sentences:

.1. The woman rode the horse into the steppe.

.2. The young, red-haired Scythian woman rode the sleek white and grey horse into azure steppe.

Adjectives in the second sentence give details that make the scene easier to picture. An adjective is usually defined as a word to modify a noun or pronouns by telling "what kind", "which one", "how many", or "how much".

Plan for Writing

.1. The first time I set eyes on this painting I found it quite breathtaking. One of my favourite paintings is ... (the title).

.2. It was painted - drawn by, ... unknown, celebrated, ... Ukrainian artist-master-painter, ... belonging to the... representing the ..., realistic, classic, modern, post-modern ... art, painting.

.3. The first thing that caught my eye were the colours because they were so (vivid and powerful)

.4. The picture conveys the idea of ..., a sense of...,. It contains..., is made up of..., gives the impression ... It is executed mostly in bright-dark-cold-blue-vague-light colours (tones, hues). It vividly portrays the conflict of..., the beauty of..., the mystery of.

The artist's use of (graphic, drawing, illustrations, bodyart, land art, archaelogical art) creates the impression of..., indicates that... .

.7.What I find interesting... confusing is... unbelievable...

.8. I find the atmosphere the artist creates very effective for better understanding of ... events, ideas...

Sequence of Adjectives Before Nouns

General opinion| Specific opinion| Size| Shape| Age| Colour| Nationality| Materiall| NOUN

For example:

a fabulous, square, big, old, black and white, Scythian, wooden box

The Creative Activities of Volodymir Bakhtov

Do you like the creative activities of Ukrainian painter Volodymir Bakhtov ?

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    • profile image

      Raisa Gusina 

      7 months ago

      Dear author? this material about ucranian artist V.Bakhtov is very interesting for me

    • profile image

      Darya Karabanova 

      8 months ago

      Dear author, I want to thank you for such an interesting article because I could see the beauty of unusual art of V. Bakhtov. I also want to add that geleography is not the only method using the light of the sun or the moon, Western art uses light - painting. Yours faithfully student.

    • profile image

      Alexandra Filonenko 

      10 months ago

      Dear author,

      why do you use the word "painter" to designate Bakhtov's profession if painting as such constitutes only a quarter of his works at best. Woudn't it be more correct to use the word "artist" in his regard?

      I've been working with him for 19 years (writing text for his catalogues and articles about him), so have some idea of what and how he does.


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