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Taras Shevchenko

Encyclopedia of the life and works


Picturesque Ukraine (1844)

Taras Shevchenko

"Picturesque Ukraine". A set of etchings. St. Petersburg [XI] 1844.

On the face of the cover is printed: Picturesque Ukraine by Taras Shevchenko. Saint Petersburg. 1844.

Set consists of six etchings: "In Kiev", "Vydubitsky monastery", "Peasant's court", "Matchmakers", "Fairy Tale", "Gifts in Chigrin in 1649". In etchings all the signatures, dates and inscriptions made by Shevchenko.

Came to work on publications, Shevchenko also applies by letter to various people to help him spread "Picturesque Ukraine". In a similar letter from 1 Oct 1844 addressed to Chernihiv civil governor P. Hesse, he explains the purpose of planned publications:

"I think, will my birthplace be very poor, miserable on earth – and that it seemed to me more beautiful than Switzerland and throughout Italy. Those who have seen our once Ukraine, say that would be willing to live and die on it beautiful fields. What are we to tell it's children? To love and be proud of their beautiful mother. I am a member of the great family I serve it if not for substantial benefit, at least for the glory of the name of Ukraine. Having some art in painting, I made a publication, called "Picturesque Ukraine".

Work on the preparation of drawings to the planned publication Shevchenko began in 1843 during the first trip to Ukraine. These preparatory works have been preserved – sketches, etudes and outlines.

Returning to St. Petersburg in March 1844, Shevchenko started working on preparations for the publication of "Picturesque Ukraine".

In a letter to O. M. Bodjansky of 6 – May 7, 1844 he said: "The three prints are ready -"Kiev Pechersk well", "Peasant's court in the village" and "Gifts to Bogdan and the Ukrainian people".

Three other etchings – "Vydubitsky monastery", "Matchmakers" and "Fairy Tale" Shevchenko was complete in August: "… three will be ready in August" (Letter to O. M. Bodjansky of 29 Jun 1844). However, in August, Shevchenko could only finish etching "Fairy Tale", as evidenced by published in the newspaper "Northern Bee" advertisement (24.VIII 1844). To finalize work on the publication, in the same month Shevchenko turned to society to encourage artists to provide him financial assistance:

"…I take the courage to ask for help in case I have attempted. And I will be happy, if society favors to give me the opportunity to print first two issues, which consist of 6 prints in an amount of 600 copies, and deign to take me to 100 or more copies of my publication".

Society to encourage artists gave assistance for Shevchenko in the amount of 300 rubles. Shevchenko's letter to J. G. Kukharenko confirm, that all six etchings were published in late November 1844: "Now in the weeks go 6 items of pictures… " (Letter to J. G. Kukharenko of 26 Nov 1844).

Based on this letter was established a final date of publication of the "Picturesque Ukraine".

The total number of prints made by Shevchenko in 1844, has not been established.

L.I. Vnuchkova

After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1961, Vol. 7, part 1, p. 36 – 38 (note).