Venus trough Georgii Malakov's eyes

Special Project of the Library of Ukrainian Art

The illustrations by Georgii Malakov to the cult sci-fi novel “Argonauts of the Universe”

First Ukrainian sci-fi literature had started to appear in 1920-1930, and its blossoming falls in the middle of the 1950s. Scenes largely borrowed from Western models of the genre, but the illustrations were quite unique and high skilled. Malakov Georgii (1928-1979), an older brother of Kiyv expert Dmitrii Malakov is one of the best our book designers generally and the first Ukrainian professional illustrator of science fiction. He had designed the debut work of Oles Berdnyk – a collection of stories “Beyond time and space” (1957). Malakov had a friends among the authors of science fiction, and authors were amazed by excellent details of his pictures and became friends of Georgii Vasylyovych for all life.

The artist has designed generally more than 130 books(and also many publications in the press). Extraterrestrial life he has shown at his illustrations before the first exit of man into space. One of the most important works of Malakov is the visualization “Argonauts of Universe” by Volodymyr Vladko (1901-1974), a novel with a difficult story. At first it was issued in 1935;with a slightly revised story – in 1958. Now this edition is a bibliographical rarity (and it is from it – the illustrations in the special project of “Library of Ukrainian Art”). Especially popular book became in Japan, where it was issued six times. The latter is currently edition in Ukrainian dates from 1990th year; in the independent Ukraine Volodymyr Vladko was unjustly forgotten.

And for nothing: despite of presence in his works pro-Soviet propaganda, without which in those days was impossible to issue anything, The works of this “Ukrainian Jules Verne” had been written in the best traditions of the sci-fi genre.

In the story “Argonauts of the Universe,” the Soviet Union in the late 1950s sends the first expedition to Venus. On the distant planet for the crew team, in which was “a hare” – komsomol member Galyna Ryzhko waiting stunning adventures. At the technique of line art Georgii Malakov performed more than 60 illustrations for the book, skillfully pictured tropical flora Venus, mysterious monsters that inhabit this planet, and in details described the insides of the spacecraft, including the crew in a state of weightlessness, devices of control and so on. Author’s style of Malakov was formed at the “Argonauts of the Universe,” just since that time (1958) the artist’s works are unmistakably recognizable. Later, he has created illustrations for two other popular works of Vladko – “The descendants of the Scythians” and “Gray-haired captain”. Dynamic, creative, interesting illustrations by Georgii Malakov to fantastic literature is a reason to be proud of Ukrainian graphics and worthy inheritance to future generations.

Georgii Malakov performed more than 60 illustrations for the book “Argonauts of the Universe”, which was published in 1950th and gained popularity even in Japan.