Start page

Taras Shevchenko

Encyclopedia of the life and works



Taras Shevchenko. Gypsy

Taras Shevchenko. Gypsy. Paper, sepia (24.3 × 17.9 cm). [VII – VIII 1851]. Taras Shevchenko National Museum, inv. g – 836.

N. F. Savichev who saw the picture "Gypsy" in Shevchenko in 1852 Novopetrovsk fort, said:

"Another drawing was also made in sepia: near standing on a street corner picturesque Little Russian hut tavern – two soldiers brought two prisoners, chained glands singly and together. One of the men entered the tavern and the other, leaning on the arm of the upper outer door jamb, standing with his back to the audience, waiting for the glass of vodka from a comrade. He glanced at a rest against the wall of the prisoners. It was – one of the Great Russians, the other Gypsy. On the street, in the depth of the background, there was a group of wandering gypsies, representing a bacchanal: tambourine, violin, jolly song, frantically dancing women – it was in full swing. Detainee Gypsy, struck native sounds of freedom, lunged and stuck his head around the corner hut, but with that he pulled together for a friend, listlessly chasing in his clothing parasites. Rattling chains, and disturbed Russian prisoner angrily looked at the gypsy, and a guard of soldiers drew attention to the noise, expressed in a turn of the head. And that's it. But how is this done…" [Nikita Savichev, Short-term familiarity with Taras Shevchenko, newspaper "Cossack messenger", Novocherkassk, 1884, № 53 – 54]

Sepia was executed in Kara-Tau expedition. At the same time or shortly after the return of the expedition Shevchenko performed repeating of drawing. It is alleged that in October 1851 Br. Zaleski sent a picture "Gypsy" to A. Węgrzynowski to Odessa for sale, and gave in the letter a description of the plot, which would be the second describing the pattern that he had seen in the spring of 1852 Savichev ["Shevchenko studies", vol. 1, K., 1958, p. 118 – 120].

Węgrzynowski sold the picture and received money for it sent Shevchenko, as evidenced by letter Shevchenko to Br. Zaleski 9.X 1854:

"Odessa events even for our beloved Arcady had an impact, and including me, of course, indirectly. I still however Gypsy are not wasted, hence to the need still far away, but he is something poor, as can be seen in decent grip".

Name of the owner, who purchased picture from Węgrzynowski, still remains unknown. The second original drawing directly from Shevchenko transferred to Lazarevsky.

During Kara-Tau expedition from one of these pictures Br. Zaleski made a copy, which he mentioned in a letter to Shevchenko 2.VI 1859, which talks about photography "Trio" and a copy of it: "I have also similar copy of Gypsy" [Kyiv antiquity, 1897, Vol. III, p. 473 – 475].

Outline of "Gypsy" inserted to sepia "Shevchenko among friends", indicating the simultaneous execution of these works.

In the literature [A. Novitsky, Taras Shevchenko as a painter, Lviv – Moscow, 1914, p. 69, № 476, VIII-A, et al.] this picture wrongly attributed to the series "The Parable of the Prodigal Son" and dated 1856 – 1857. S. Raevsky (based on N. Savichev memoirs) thought it sepia "Gypsy" and that it made before the 1852 ["On the question of attribution and dating of some sepia Shevchenko", "Fine Arts", K., 1941, № 4, p. 28 – 29]

In the literature drawing known as "Near hut two chained men…" ["Catalogue of V. Tarnowski's museum of ukrainian antiquities", Vol. II, Chernigov, 1900, p. 184, № 306], "Half-naked man in a peaked hat near the Ukrainian hut" ["Art and Artistic Industries", 1900, № 3, p. 65], "Two chained men" ["Product of Shevchenko exhibitions in Moscow on 50th anniversary of his death", Moscow, 1911, p. 10, № 140], "Prodigal Son in chains" and "In chains" [A. Novitsky, Taras Shevchenko as a painter, Lviv – Moscow, 1914, p. 69, № 467, VIII-a, and tab. 62], "Two men shackled in chains" [L. Karachevska, Exhibition Shevchenko, Part 2, Chernigov, 1930, p. 20, № 57], "On stage" [M. G. Burachek, Great folk artist, X., 1939, p. 37 et al.], "Halt on stage" [S. E. Raevsky, Life and Works of artist Taras Shevchenko, X., 1939, p. 92].

Storage areas: property of V. M. Lazarevsky, V. Tarnowski's Chernihiv museum of ukrainian antiquities – № 306, Chernihiv Historical Museum, Institute of Taras Shevchenko, Kharkiv – Kyiv, Gallery of pictures Shevchenko, Kharkiv, Central State Museum Taras Shevchenko Kyiv.

In 1929 was displayed at the exhibition of works of Taras Shevchenko in Chernihiv (Product, № 57), in 1939 – the Republican Shevchenko Jubilee exhibition, Kyiv (Product, № 251), in 1951 – the exhibition of Fine Arts in Moscow, the Ukrainian SSR (Catalogue, p. 105).

G. P. Palamarchuk

After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete Works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1964, Vol. 9, № 14 (image), p. 13 – 14 (note).