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Taras Shevchenko

Encyclopedia of the life and works


Self-portrait 1851

Taras Shevchenko. Self-portrait 1851

Taras Shevchenko. Self-portrait. [VII – VIII in 1851].
Bristol stained paper, Italian pencil, white (22.1 × 17.7 cm).

On the sheet of yellow album paper, in which openings was inserted self-portrait, placed ink inscription: Portrait de Chewtchenko d’après un, fait par lui-même, 1853 [Self-portrait of Shevchenko. 1853 (French)].

From this portrait Br. Zaleski performed the etching, one copy of which is kept in the collections of National Taras Shevchenko Museum, AN USSR, Kyiv (inv. number g – 984). In the etchings printed inscription: Taras Szewczenko. Według jego własnego rysunku zrobionego w stepie kirgizkiem 1853 roku [Taras Shevchenko. In his own picture, made in the Kyrgyz steppe in 1853 (pol.)].

The date – 1853 – on the Shevchenko's original and Zaleski's etchings have been considered false. In a footnote to the Shevchenko's letter of 25 Sep 1855 Br. Zaleski writes about the execution of the portrait in a Kara-tau expedition:

"At the time of that journey Shevchenko did for me a little black chalk portrait… It was very similar, instead of mirrors the artist used jug with water, another mirror we had in the desert. There was no razor or barber and for that we wore beards, though actually we were both soldiers" (Ivan Franko, , "Leafs to the wreath on the grave of Shevchenko", Lviv, 1890, p. 45 – 46).

Br. Zaleski's evidence claimed by identity of this self-portrait and self-portrait from the picture "Shevchenko among friends", completed in 1851. It was drawed not earlier than July, after the departure of Novopetrovsk fortification when Shevchenko could grow a beard.

Previous storage: Institute of Taras Shevchenko, Kharkiv – Kyiv, Gallery of Shevchenko's paintings (Kharkiv).

National Taras Shevchenko Museum, USSR Academy of Sciences, Kyiv, inv. Number g-385.


After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete Works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1964, v. 9, № 16 (image), p. 16 (notes).