PREDELLE OF THE WORLD
A predella is a kind of a narrow, horizontal painting, in a rectangular shape, placed beneath the main altar painting. Since the main picture of the altar presented an essential event of a saint's life, predelle depicted other, less important, circumstances. Predelle were to tell the history and portray life. They tended to be lively and dynamic, and therefore they were usually far more interesting than the main scene of the altar, which had to be more conventional. Thus the predelle painted by Fra Angelico, Ucello, Sasetto or Lott are among my favourite paintings.
What Łukasz Huculak does is to paint narrow, rectangular paintings, which I called predelle; even though I know the word is not commonly known and used. Sometimes the pictures are really small; however, sometimes they happen to be of a really big size, like two metres long and one metre high. Still this monumental scale of the composition does not change the proportion characteristic for predelle.
At the beginning of his painting career, Huculak focused mainly on still life; carefully selected objects were displayed on broad tables. They were mostly bottles, pots, mugs or fruit, and quite often some more interesting and unusual things, not necessarily connected with feast or kitchen still life. A little ball, a cube, a casket or some blocks of no particular use were to remind us that we could be looking at the artistic world and the unique artist's selection of objects. Nevertheless, one association was more vivid than others: the Last Supper table. But bearing in mind Huculak's fondness of Leonardo's fresco one can easily explain this kind of association.
Recently there have been fewer still lives, instead there are more paintings presenting people. Quite often we have a chance to look inside and witness some secret and sometimes very emotional scenes. This movement and impulsiveness are completely new features of Huculak's creations. However, the specific paradox of their occurrence is closely connected with the artist's admiration for the old masters. That is where one can find all those strange, astonishing and miraculous scenes. They were miraculous because they frequently depicted lives of the saints. Having little knowledge of hagiographic legend we are not able to decipher what events we are looking at. This must be incredibly fascinating and intriguing as there is nothing more exciting than a secret itself. Suddenly, there is a person falling down from the sky, or sometimes there is more than one person. What are those falling human beings supposed to be? Are they some pieces of unknown legends, or perhaps this is a result of search for the proper order in the picture. They are amazing for the viewers, whereas for the artist they are means to establish the order in the painting, and also to add mystery and surprise. An impetuous moment which can last forever.
Apart from still lives, and pictures depicting people, Huculak has eagerly painted some unique, spacious, panoramic landscapes. One can always find there some cone-shaped hummocks, dark blots of lakes carefully poured into complicated shapes of thin, thread-like rivers. Above it all there are usually some heavy graphite clouds hanging. On the whole, these landscapes are similar to the carefully arranged still lives. Being completely made-up and composed, the landscapes seem to be pieces of music corresponding to the author's mood and attitude. From what we see, we can guess that the artist is a remarkably melancholic person, though still very young.
Garden landscapes, which have also been painted recently, are a bit different. They are less dramatic and simpler. Even though they do not represent any particular real place, they are closer to reality. Because this is an ideal reality, created and ruled by human, or in fact ruled by the art, in this case, the art of gardening. The geometry of canals and paths and the regularity of architecture in the gardens are immensely simple and peaceful. This appears to be the sphere of pure artistic creation, which may become endless inspiration.
First paintings by Huculak were mainly in grey, or its various shades. This was hardly ever disturbed. Pure tones, vivid and sound colours never appeared; with one exception of blue. However, that has changed since his trip to Italy. Some strong and bright colours occurred. Obviously, grey and brown still dominate the paintings but a lot of them have been liven-up with the violent presence of red, orange or pink. These pure sounds of colours really strengthen the drama of Huculak's paintings. At the same time the meaning of his predelle's has changed as well. More and more often we can observe some sudden scenes of violence, which had never been present in his compositions before. Evil seems to have entered this ideal world, just like death appeared in the ideal Arcadian world. Et in Arcadia ego. Huculak has also let death and violence into his world.