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Taras Shevchenko

Encyclopedia of the life and works


The mother washes the child

Taras Shevchenko. The mother washes…

Taras Shevchenko. The mother washes the child. Abraham's Sacrifice. Multifigured composition. Drawing and sketches.
[1840 – 1841. St. Petersburg]. Paper, sepia, pencil. 17,6 × 26,3 cm.
Taras Shevchenko National Museum, № g – 772.

On the back – "Tree. Etude to "Narcissus and the nymph Echo". "Plants". Etudes.

Top left barely visible remnants of sign, washed away during restoration of the image: Museum antiquity V. Tarnowskі.

To the right of the sepia tone picture "The mother washes a child" – two pencil sketches of the biblical story "Abraham's Sacrifice", left – sketch of a multifigured composition of unknown content, perhaps illustrations to the book "History of Suvorov" by N.A.Polevoj.

In description by G.M. Chestahivsky pictures that were in Shevchenko's academic workshops, made 1861, sheet listed in the section "Pictures by Sternberg" at number 50 [Department of manuscripts and textology Institute of Literature. T.H. Shevchenko National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, fund 1, № 459].

Scientific description provided in 1900 in catalog of V. Tarnowskі Chernihiv museum of ukrainian antiquities under the heading "V.I. Sternberg. The album, composed from 18 pencil drawings" [Catalog of V. Tarnowski's Museum of Ukrainian antiquity / arranged by B.D. Grinchenko. – Chernigov, 1900. – T. 2. – p. 4. – № 21].

For the first time included in the PZT, reproduced and commented with the name "Mother washing baby. Abraham's Sacrifice and multifigured composition", but referred to the «Dubia» [T. Shevchenko Complete Works: in 10 volumes. – K., 1961. – Vol. 7, bk. 2. – p. 47 – 48. – № 340]. However, in each of the three plots it is easy to see Shevchenko's drawing techniques. In outline of a multifigured composition – conditional, but a clear picture of the heads with barely scheduled trunk, strikethrough hatching job pencil from the paper, comparing with other pictures Shevchenko numerous figures in perspective, suggest an outline of "Abraham's Sacrifice" to be Shevchenko's. Sepia picture "The mother washes the child" by way of building character and prospects of treatment of female figures and images of individual items (bowls, benches, paintings on the wall) also indicates its affiliation to Shevchenko.

Dated tentatively considering a possible time of drawing figures on the back without limitation to the summer months.

Storage areas: from April 1861 – property of M.M.Lazarevsky, later purchased by St. Petersburg's Ukrainian community, not earlier than July 1861 – A.O. Kozachkovsky, not later than 1875 came to V. P. Kakhovski; from 1891 Kakhovsky family, not later than 1893 transferred to S.D. Brazol; since 1898 – a collection of V. Tarnowskі; from 1899 – V. Tarnowski's Chernihiv museum of ukrainian antiquities, 1925 – Chernihiv Historical Museum, from 1932 – Gallery of pictures by T.H. Shevchenko (Kharkiv), from 1948 – State Museum of T.H. Shevchenko (Kyiv).

Exhibition: 1929. Chernihiv. Shevchenko exhibition [Karachevska A. Exhibition of Taras Shevchenko: Guide. – Chernihiv, 1930. – p. 15. – № 30].

I.M. Verykivska

After publication: T.H. Shevchenko Complete Works in 12 volumes. – K.: Naukova Dumka, 2003, v. 7, p. 242 – 243 (image), p. 432 – 433 (notes).

Additional images