Taras Shevchenko – great Ukrainian poet and artist.
The childhood of the poet.
“Kobzar” – first collection of poetry.
Arriving to Ukraine.
Activity at the Kyrylo – Methodius Society.
Shevchenko’s arrest and exile.
The cycle of poems “In the Dungeon”.
Coming back to Ukraine.
Taras Hryhorovich Shevchenko, the great Ukrainian poet, artist and
thinker, was born on March 9, 1814, in the village of Moryntsi in
central Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. His parents were serfs
on the land of V.Engelhardt.
His grandfather, who was a witness of the Haidmak movement, had a
significant influence on Taras. Taras’s father was literate, and he sent
his son to be educated as an apprentice to a deaсon. In 1823, Taras’s
mother died, and his father married for a second time. In 1825, his
father also died. For some time little Taras, now an orphan, served as a
houseboy. A talent for drawing showed itself in the boy quite early.
When he was 14 years old, he became a domestic servant to P.Engelhardt.
In the spring of 1829, Taras traveled with P.Engelhardt to Vilnius.
There he studied painting under an experienced craftsman. The Polish
rebellion for national liberation from Russia began in November 1830,
and Engelhardt left for the Russian capital, St.Petersburg. Shevchenko
stayed with the lord’s servants in Vilnius and was witness to the
revolutionary events. Shevchenko went to St.Petersburh at the beginning
of 1831.In 1832, the lord left him with the master painter V.Shyryayev,
with whom the lad experienced a hard school of professional training.
Noted writers and artists bought Shevchenko out of serfdom. The 2,500
rubles required were raised through a lottery in which the prize was a
portrait of the poet, Zhukovsky, painted by Karl Bryullov. The release
from serfdom was signed on April 22, 1838.A committee of the Association
for the Encouragement of Artists had examined drawings by Shevchenko and
approved them. In 1838 Shevchenko was accepted into the Academy of Arts,
practicing in the workshop of K.Bryullov.
In the library of Yevhen Hrebinka, the became familiar with anthologies
of Ukrainian folklore and the works of I.Kotlyarevsky, H.Kvitka –
Osnovyanenko, and the romantic poets, as well as many Russian, East
European and world writers.
Shevchenko began to write poetry even before he was freed from serfdom.
In 1840, the world first saw “Kobzar”, Shevchenko’s first collection of
poetry. Later Ivan Franko wrote that this book, “immediately revealed a
new world of poetry. It burst forth like a spring of clear, cold water,
and sparkled with a clarity, breadth and elegance of artistic expression
not previously known in Ukrainian writing”. In 1841, the epic poem
‘Haidamaky” appeared as a separate volume. In September of that same
year, Shevchenko got his third Silver Medal – for his picture “The Gypsy
Fortune Teller”. A significant work is the painting “Kateryna”, based on
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