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  1. 1. Taras Shevchenko Pіdgotuvala: Schoolgirls 10-A Klas Rozhenkova Dasha
  2. 2. Content 1. Childhood 2. Shevchenko Art 3. St. Petersburg Period 4. Arrest and Exile
  3. 3. Childhood Taras Shevchenko, the son of serfs, was born on the estate of Baron Vasili Engelhardt on March 9, 1814. One of six children, at his birth he was little more than another possession of his lord and master. The place of his birth was the village of Moryntsi, some 120 miles or 200 kilometres to the south of Kiev, an area which in earlier generations had been the home of the Zaporizhian Cossacks. In 1816 the Shevchenko family moved to the village of Kirilivka (now Shevchenkove), where Taras spent his childhood years. Amongst the peasantry, burdened by the brutal and unjust system of serfdom, tales of these folk heroes and their struggles for freedom, were commonplace, a relief from the toils of the day, as well as a hope for a better future. It was in such an environment that the young Taras and his siblings were raised.
  4. 4. Childhood Shevchenko's parents, Hryhori and Kateryna, worked the fields of Baron Engelhardt, as did his older brother Mykyta. As was usual in those times, the serfs laboured five days for their master, and one for themselves. His father also worked on occasion as a chumak, a teamster, hauling salt for Baron Engelhardt from southern Ukraine. It appears that his father, on occasion, took Taras with him on these trips, as young children were not obliged to work for their master. During these trips, the young boy was able to see some of the world, even major centres such as Elizavetgrad and Uman.
  5. 5. Shevchenko Art T.Shevchenko, Parents House in Kerelivka, 1843 His mother Kateryna, while working the fields during the growing season, spent the winters at home, as did most peasant women, spinning and weaving for the master. Inside the household, again as was typical, the older children took care of the younger ones. In the Shevchenko household, older sister Katrusia was the mainstay and had quite an effect on her younger brother. He was upset, it appears, when she married and moved away with her new husband, and it was to her home that Taras returned a few years later after fleeing a brutal deacon for whom he worked.
  6. 6. Shevchenko Art At home, the life of the family was a happy one in terms of the human relations, but a hard one in terms of material possessions and human want. Often, there was a shortage of food, particularly after the hard winter months. Shevchenko himself noted that his mother would often refuse to eat after working the fields all day, claiming she wasn't hungry. Taras later concluded that she didn't eat because she wanted the children to be better nourished. This interpretation was no doubt underscored by the fact that his youngest sister, Mariyka, who was forced to fast during the lenten period before Easter and after a winter of food shortages, went blind as a result of malnutrition.
  7. 7. Shevchenko Art Another influence on the young boy was his paternal grandfather, Ivan, who often related stories to the young boy of the struggles of the peasantry and the not infrequent rebellions and violent uprisings. These stories probably are the basis for much of the poet's later works, such as Haydamaky. As a youngster, Taras stood out amongst his peers. He was inquisitive and adventurous, often wandering away to search out answers to his many questions. When he was six, he set off to a distant burial mound to see the iron pillars which he imagined held up the sky. Luckily, a villager spotted him on the road and brought him home.
  8. 8. Shevchenko Art It was not long after this that the boy was sent to study with a deacon to learn to read and write. He was one of twelve village boys studying, out of some one hundred of that age. This in itself, shows that Taras was exceptional amongst his peers. He excelled at his studies and was sometimes sent to read psalms for the dead in the deacon's place. By this stage, young Taras was already sketching and wanted to become an artist. He often would copy liturgical materials and illustrated the margins of his pages with various designs.
  9. 9. St. Petersburg Period Taras Shevchenko arrived in St. Petersburg from Vilnius, along with the rest of the servants of Paul Englehardt, in February of 1831. He was on the eve of his seventeenth birthday. It was here, in the Tsarist capital and the centre of the cultural life of the Russian Empire, that Shevchenko was to mature, first as an artist, and as a poet, writer and activist.
  10. 10. St. Petersburg Period While a good part of Shevchenko's apprenticeship was spent mixing paints and delivering items to various of Shyrayev's projects across St. Petersburg, he also honed his own talents and learned much from the master painter. Although he was still officially a serf, his apprenticeship nonetheless allowed him a certain degree of personal freedom in the city. In his spare moments, normally in the evenings, he would wander the city making sketches, often in the Summer Gardens during the northern "white lights".
  11. 11. St. Petersburg Period With his freedom attained, in 1838 Shevchenko became an external student at the Academy of Arts, studying under Karl Bryulov. In January of 1839, he was accepted as a resident student of the Association for the Encouragement of Artists and at the annual examinations at the Academy was awarded a silver medal for a landscape. The following year, he again won a silver medal for his first oil painting The Beggar Boy Giving Bread to a Dog.
  12. 12. St. Petersburg Period As his artistic talent developed, Shevchenko continued to move in the circles of the progressive intelligentsia and also broadened his world view. He took courses in zoology, physics and philosophy, studied the French language and avidly read literature - Homer, Goethe, Schiller, Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, Shakespeare, Defoe, Mickiew icz, Pushkin, Gogol and many others. In art, he became a critical realist and applied his approach to portraiture, etching and illustrating. However, it is for his written work that Shevchenko is best remembered. According to his own memoirs, he first began to write verse during his visits to the Summer Gardens in 1837. However, he had become so immersed in this that, by 1840, his first collection of poetry appeared - the Kobzar, containing but eight verses, with a forward in verse form, the now famous Dumy moyi.
  13. 13. Arrest and Exile Together with a group of young Ukrainian liberals, Kostomarov organized a political association - the Society of Cyril and Methodious, named for the legendary disseminators of reading and writing among the Slavs. The Society called for the unification of all the Slavic nations on the basis of equality, and stood for the annulment of serfdom and for close cultural and political fraternization. However, its members imagined that they could achieve their aims through sermonizing and dissemination of knowlege, ruling out any idea of revolutionary action. The poet attended meetings of the secret fraternity, where he read his flaming poems, calling for an uprising. He headed the left wing of the society. In March of 1847 the Society was denounced to the authorities and its members - Kostomarov, Shevchenko, Hulak and others - were arrested.
  14. 14. Arrest and Exile Violating the Tsar's prohibition and disregarding all threats, Shevchenko secretly continued to write poetry. It should be noted that among his immediate superiors there were not only rude martinets, but also some very sensitive and humane people. During his ten years of exile he composed many marvelous works, in which, disclosing his own feelings and experiences, he expressed the cherished aspirations of all oppressed people. Never did freedom seem so precious to Shevchenko as it did there, in exile and bondage. With all his heart he yearned for Ukraine, although she, too, was deprived of freedom.
  15. 15. Arrest and Exile Shortly before his long-awaited freedom, Shevchenko began to keep a diary in the Russian language. He began it "out of boredom", as he put it simply because he had " a terrible desire to write" and because he wanted to practice writing. "Just as his instrument is imperative for the virtuoso and his brush to the painter, so must a man of letters practice writing." He had no idea that his Journal (as he titled it, according to fashion) would become one of his most remarkable works. It is more than a biographical document. It is also a unique self-portrait of the man whom Nekrasov called "a most remarkable person of the Russian land" -a self-portrait that allows us to gain an intimate knowlege of the poet, his feelings, thoughts and political convictions. In his Journal, Shevchenko appears as a staunch fighter, incapable of compromise and firm in his belief that the final victory of the people over the powers that held them in slavery.
  16. 16. Arrest and Exile When Shevchenko was finally released in 1857, already during the reign of Tsar Alexander II, the poet seemed to have been born anew as though he had dumped the hard years of exile off his back: "It seems to me that I'm exactly the same as I was ten years ago. Not a single trait of my inner being has changed. Is that good? It is good!" he wrote in his Journal.
  17. 17. The End…