(October 19, 1854, Izium e October 7, 1917, Kharkiv) was one of the most prolific Ukrainian artists of the pre-revolutionary period and an expert on Ukrainian ornamentation and folk art.
Vasylkivsky grew up in an environment conducive to his development as an artist. He was born and spent his childhood in the picturesque surroundings of Izium, a city in the historical region of Sloboda Ukraine, and today's Kharkiv Oblast. The future painter had a chumak grandfather whose roots reached cossack ancestral lines. Vasylkivsky's father was a writer and taught his son the aesthetics of proper calligraphy. His mother, through her folk songs set the foundation which provided the inspiration for Vasylkivsky's art later in life.
When he was seven years old, his parents moved to Kharkiv, which at the time was a significant cultural center of Sloboda Ukraine. Vasylkivsky's first art lessons were given at the Kharkiv gymnasium by Dmytro Bezperchy, a student of Karl Briullov. During the years of his study, Vasylkivsky was able to use the extensive book collection of his relative and poet, V. Alexandrov. Among these were the works by Ivan Kotlyarevsky, Taras Shevchenko, and Nikolai Gogol, which made a strong impression on the young artist. After five years of education at the gymnasium and at the demand of his father, Vasylkivsky began studies at the Kharkiv Veterinary School. This lasted until 1873, when Vasylkivsky left veterinary studies due to his parents inability to pay for tuition. For a while, he worked as a civil servant in Kharkiv.