Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a Ukrainian village folk art painter representative of naïve art. The artist was involved with drawing embroidery and painting on ceramics. Laureate of the National Prize of Ukraine named after T.G. Shevchenko. Honored Artist of the USSR since 1970 People's Artist of Ukraine. Pablo Picasso once said after visiting a Prymachenko exhibition in Paris “I bow down before the artistic miracle of this brilliant Ukrainian.” The year 2009 was declared the Year of Maria Prymachenko by the UNESCO.
Maria Prymachenko was born to a peasant family and spent the entirety of her life in the village of Bolotnya in the Ivankiv Raion Kyiv Oblast situated only 30 km (19 mi) from Chernobyl.
In her childhood Prymachenko was taken ill with polio and this painful disease influenced the girl's life. By reports of her relatives Prymachenko grew ? thoughtful and considerate person having compassion for nature and every living thing.
Her way in art began by her own words like this: "Once as a young girl I was tending a gaggle of geese. When I got with them to a sandy beach on the bank of the river after crossing a field dotted with wild flowers I began to draw real and imaginary flowers with a stick on the sand… Later I decided to paint the walls of my house using natural pigments. After that I’ve never stopped drawing and painting."
In Kyiv Prymachenko met Vasyl Marynchuk. In March 1941 their son Fedor was born. They did not have time to get married - Vasily went to war and did not return. Fedor Primachenko's son was a close friend and a talented follower of his mother. He too became a folk artist and a master of naiveté. He and his wife raised two sons the artist's grandchildren.
In 1936 at the First Republican Exhibition of Folk Art Prymachenko's paintings were given a whole hall. This exhibition was seen by Moscow Leningrad and Warsaw. Prymachenko was awarded a first-degree diploma for participating in an exhibition of folk art in 1936. Since then her works have been exhibited with constant success at exhibitions in Paris Warsaw Sofia Montreal and Prague. In 1937 the artist's works were exhibited in Paris. She became famous.
Mysterious and emotionally charged the works of Prymachenko a folk master of Ukrainian decorative painting seem to absorb the age-old traditions of many generations of Ukrainian master-craftsmen who from the depths of the centuries have brought forth their understanding of good and evil of ugliness and beauty.
Images often had red to the artist in dreams and later materialized in her compositions. Prymachenko's art works depict fabulous mythological beasts and take their roots in folk legends and fairy-tales nourished by real life and culture of the Ukrainian.
Ivankiv Museum where several works by Prymachenko were held was burned during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine with over 20 works destroyed.