Antin Manastirsky was born in the village of Zavaliv into the family of a minor post office official. He lived and worked mostly in Lviv. From 1900 to 1905 he studied at the Cracow Academy of Art, whose staff — noted Polish painters such as Jan Stanisîawski, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Leon Wyczôlkowski, Julian Faïat and Ferdynand Ruszczyc — had such a beneficial influence on many of the Academy students, Manastirsky included.
Manastirsky travelled extensively throughout Galicia and studied the people’s life and mores in all their manifestations, acquiring a sympathetic attitude toward their hapless fate and discovering for himself the beauty and spiritual riches of the ordinary labourer. Even in his small but skilfully executed miniature landscapes, he not only projected the intoxicating beauty of Galicia’s natural scenery, but was also unequivocally articulate in accentuating the social inequality and injustice reigning in the old Galician countryside (e. g., Hutsul Huts, A Poor Peasant’s Dwelling, Old Schoolhouse in the Village of Borki, Sunlit Cottage, and The Old Mill).
Epic literature, folklore, music, folk songs, architecture and applied art — all this found its interpretation in many of Manastirsky’s paintings and graphic works, as, for instance, in his By the Grove, A Maid Went Walking by the Shore, The Reapers Work Upon the Hill, On the Barrow, Death of a Friend, At the Watering Place, and In Pursuit of a Tatar.
The best portraits done by Manastirsky — Peasant Types, Head of an Old Man, Portrait of Mother, Two Friends, The Sacristan, and Zaporozhian Cossack — reveal his high level of portraying definite types and the many facets of their psychological traits
As a graphic artist, he created his own unique collection of national life in his numerous illustrations to children’s books and textbooks for Ukrainian, Polish, Byelorussian and Lithuanian schools; a collection that established his wide erudition and knowledge of the life of other nations and a deep respect for their culture. Along with such Western Ukrainian artists as Yulian Pankevich, Olena Kulchytska, Yaroslav Pstrak and Osip Kurilas, he made a considerable contribution to the development of realistic graphic art in book and magazine design in the 1900s.
Manastirsky`s works have been on show in more than forty exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad. Antin Manastirsky died at the age of 90. Today his best productions have become part of Ukraine’s cultural treasure-house, and represent a vivid page in the history of Ukrainian painting.