(1814 – 1861)
Shevchenko Taras Grigoryevich (1814 – 1861), Ukrainian poet. He was born in the village of Morintsy in the Kiev province in the family of a serf Ianina cross. Children’s days passed in their native village, then in the village of Kirilovka. Early orphaned, he knew the serf lacking rights. He was taught by a rural deacon.
In 1828 he went into the service of the landowner P. Engelhardt’s house in the village of Vilshana, a year later served in his house in Vilna, and from 1831 – in St. Petersburg. Discovering the ability of the boy to paint, Engelhardt decided to make him a home painter and sent him in 1832 in training for the artist V. Shiryaev.
In 1836 Shevchenko got acquainted with the Ukrainian artist I. Soshenko, and through him – with K. Bryullov, V. Grigorovich, V. Zhukovsky, who decided to release the young artist from serfdom. In 1838 a portrait of Zhukovsky, written by Bryullov, was drawn in a lottery, and the received 2500 rubles. Shevchenko was bought from Engelhardt. In the same year he was admitted to the Academy of Arts, where he became a pupil and comrade Bryullov. He studied eagerly, read a lot, studied art, mastered the art of drawing and painting. I knew well the work of Ukrainian and Russian writers.
In 1840 in St. Petersburg was published the first Ukrainian collection of poems Shevchenko – “Kobzar”, which began a new era in the history of Ukrainian literature. Early works of Shevchenko written in the genre of ballads, poems, “dumas.” Significant works of this period – the poem “Katerina” (1838) “Gaydamak” (1841). In Russian he wrote poems “The Blind” (1842), “Bezalanny” (1844), the drama “Nazar Stodol” (1843).
In 1843 he returns to Ukraine, travels throughout the year, visits his relatives, watches the life of the people, draws a lot. He released the album “Picturesque Ukraine”.
In 1844 Shevchenko graduated from the Academy of Arts, having received the title of “non-class (free) artist”, and again goes to Ukraine, deciding to settle in Kiev. By this time, his revolutionary-democratic views are determined (he gets acquainted with some of the Petrashevists), ideas of great works of accusatory character are born: the poem (comedy) The Dream (1844); The “Caucasus” (1845); “Heretic”.
In the 1840s he wrote many beautiful poems included in the collection “Three Years”, which ended with a poem “As I die, bury…” (1845). In 1846 he joined a secret political society – “Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood”, whose members were arrested on the denunciation of provocateur. Shevchenko was arrested in 1847 and, after... passing the casemate of the Third Department, was sentenced to soldiers in the Orsk fortress with Nikolai’s sentence: “Under strict supervision, with the prohibition to write and draw” for the revolutionary poems in the collection “Three Years” found during the arrest. But Shevchenko continued to secretly write poetry, hiding them: the poems “Varnak” and “Marina” (1848), the cycle “Kings” and a series of lyrical poems that expressed a burning love for Ukraine, written in the fortress.
In 1848, Shevchenko as an artist was included in the expedition for the survey of the Aral Sea, where he painted and created 350 watercolor landscapes and portraits. In 1850, on the denunciation of one of the officers, the poet was arrested in Orenburg, sent to the Orsk fortress and imprisoned in a casemate. Soon it was transferred to the peninsula of Mangyshlak of the Caspian Sea, to the Novopetrovsk fortification.
In 1851, despite the increased supervision, Shevchenko was again included as an artist now in the geological expedition in the Karatau mountains. In Novopetrovsk, with the permission of the fortress commandant, the poet, in his spare hours, wrote stories in Russian, hoping to print them under a pseudonym in Russian journals. Thus the novels The Princess (1853), The Musician (1854), The Unfortunate One (1855), etc. were written. Many landscapes, portraits, and genre drawings were also created here.
After the death of Nicholas 1 Shevchenko was released under an amnesty, but not immediately, but only after the persistent efforts of friends. On his way to Petersburg, he was forced to stay in Nizhny Novgorod, since he was banned from entering both capitals. Here was written the poem “The Neophytes” (1857), the triptych “Share”, “Muse”, “Glory.”
Shevchenko’s friends got permission for him to live in Petersburg, and on arrival he was in the spotlight. He approached the circle of Sovremennik, Iskra, and many Russian and Polish revolutionary democrats (Chernyshevsky, Kurochkin, and others). In 1860 the Council of the Academy of Arts awarded him the title of academician in the class of engraving.
In the years of the revolutionary situation in Russia Shevchenko used biblical and evangelical plots to translate revolutionary ideas: “Imitation of the second psalm”, “Imitation of Ezekiel, Chapter 19” (1859), the poem “Maria”, etc. In 1860 wrote a bold and powerful poem ” quiet! The light is clear! .. ”
In 1861 Shevchenko met his day of birth with a seriously ill patient (upset of the liver, heart, dropsy). In the morning he passed away.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.