Start page

Taras Shevchenko

Encyclopedia of the life and works


A woman knelt in front of a nun

Taras Shevchenko. A woman knelt in…

Taras Shevchenko. A woman knelt in front of a nun. [1840 – 1842. St. Petersburg]. Reproduced after woodcut (13 × 9; 15 × 11 cm). Taras Shevchenko National Museum, № E – 252.

Engravings made from the drawing of Shevchenko, which belonged to E.E. Reitern. Scientific description provided in 1914 as one of the illustrations for article "Shevchenko as a painter and engraver" by D.I. Doroshenko [D. Doroshenko Shevchenko as a painter and engraver // Art in Southern Russia. Graphics. Painting. Art industry. – Kiev, 1914. – № 11/12. – p. 15. – № 31]. The same year K. Shyrotsky made a suggestion, that it was carved by Shevchenko himself, but "after the painting of some another artist" [Sherotsky K. Shevchenko's engravins // Ukrainian life. – 1914. – № 2. – p. 54].

Depicted in the exterior scene – woman with diadem in elegant aristocratic dress humbled before the nun – plays some literary plot, executed under the influence of contemporary romantic works by K.P. Briullov.

Just like in this picture, "coulisse" framing compositions depicting trees and plants found in many works of 1840 – 1842 years: "A boy with a dog in the woods", "Powwow", "Gypsy fortune-teller", "Meeting of Taras Bulba with the sons", "Suvorov on guard.

Tentatively dated according to the time of the above works.

In PZT picture was mistakenly not considered authentic and is attributed to the "unjustified prescribed works" [T. Shevchenko Complete Works: in 10 volumes. – K., 1963. – Vol. 10. – p. 88. – № 287].

Own version of the origin and timing of work attempted to formulate V.M. Yatsyuk. He assumed Shevchenko's engraving to be the interpretation of Jacob de Balmen's illustrations to poem "Gajdamaks" in the manuscript collection «Wirszy T. Szewczenka» [Department of manuscripts and textology Institute of Literature. T.H. Shevchenko National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, fund 1, № 79]; respectively assumed its execution in 1845 – 1847's, and with a certain caution offered to include it in the section «Dubia» [Yatsyuk V. Painting and graphics of Shevchenko: Observations, interpretations. – K., 2003. – p. 170 – 171]. The deficiency of this hyposesis – that Shevchenko – formed creative individual used the picture of amateur artists. It may not be acceptable also regarding the inherent early Shevchenko plot layout techniques. Comparing the location of two actors in the two drawings leads to the conclusion of Shevchenko's primacy, known by engravings, in which reminiscences of Jacob de Balmen depicted kneeling in front of a nun in the cell with Oksana braided plait in maidenlike Ukrainian dress [Sudak W. Around the identification of Shevchenko's paintings // Taras Shevchenko and folk culture: Proceedings of the international (35 th) Shevchenko scientific conference. – Cherkassy, 2004. – No. 1. – p. 233 – 234].

Engraving also mentioned with name "Mariana–nun" [Skvortsov A.M. Life of artist Taras Shevchenko. – M., 1929. – p. 93; Vladimirski G.D., Savinova A.N. Shevchenko – artist. – M., L., 1939. – p. 20].

Storage areas: the collection of E.E. Reitern; since 1917 – the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); later – State Museum of T.H. Shevchenko (Kyiv).


1990. Kyiv. 150 years of printing and illustrating the words of Taras Shevchenko (without directory);

1992. Kyiv. Up to 150 anniversary of the poem "Gajdamaks" (no directory).

V.O. Sudak

After publication: T.H. Shevchenko Complete Works in 12 volumes. – K.: Naukova Dumka, 2003, v. 7, p. 110 – 111 (image), p. 395 – 396 (notes).