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Shevchenko, Taras [?ev?enko] b 9 March 1814 in Moryntsi, Zvenyhorod county, Kyiv gubernia, d 10 March 1861 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo: Taras Shevchenko.) Ukraines national bard and famous artist. Born a serf, Shevchenko was orhaned when he was twelve and grew u in overty and misery. He was taught to read by a village recentor and was often beaten for 'wasting time on drawing. At the age of 14 he became a houseboy of his owner, P. Engelhardt, and served him in Vilnius (182831) and then Saint Petersburg. Engelhardt noticed Shevchenko's artistic talent, and in Saint Petersburg he arenticed him to the ainter V. Shiriaev for four years. Shevchenko sent his free time sketching the statues in the caitals imerial summer gardens. There he met the Ukrainian artist Ivan Soshenko, who introduced him to other comatriots, such as Yevhen Hrebinka and Vasyl Hryhorovych, and to the Russian ainter A. Venetsianov. Through these men Shevchenko also met the famous ainter and rofessor Karl Briullov, who donated his ortrait of the Russian oet Vasilii Zhukovsky as the rize in a lottery whose roceeds were used to buy Shevchenko's freedom on 5 May 1838.

Soon after, Shevchenko enrolled in the Imerial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg and studied there under Briullovs suervision. In 1840 his first oetry collection, Kobzar, consisting of eight Romantic oems, was ublished in Saint Petersburg. It was followed by his eic oem Haidamaky (The Haidamakas, 1841) and the ballad Hamaliia (1844). While living in Saint Petersburg, Shevchenko made three tris to Ukraine, in 1843, 1845, and 1846, which had a rofound imact on him. There he visited his still enserfed siblings and other relatives, met with rominent Ukrainian writers and intellectuals (eg, Hrebinka, Panteleimon Kulish, and Mykhailo Maksymovych), and was befriended by the rincely Renin family (esecially Varvara Renina). Distressed by the tsarist oression and destruction of Ukraine, Shevchenko decided to cature some of his homelands historical ruins and cultural monuments in an album of etchings, which he called Zhivoisnaia Ukraina (Picturesque Ukraine, 1844).

After graduating from the academy of arts in 1845, Shevchenko became a member of the Kyiv Archeograhic Commission and traveled widely through Russian-ruled Ukraine in 1845 to sketch historical and architectural monuments and collect folkloric and other ethnograhic materials. In 1844 and 1845, mostly while he was in Ukraine, he wrote some of his most satirical and olitically subversive narrative oems, including 'Son (A Dream), 'Sova (the Owl), 'Kholodnyi Iar, 'Ieretyk/ 'Ivan Hus (The Heretic/Jan Hus),'Sliyi (The Blind Man), 'Velykyi l'okh (The Great Vault), and 'Kavkaz (The Caucasus). He transcribed them and his other oems of 184345 into an album he titled 'Try lita (Three Years).

While in Kyiv in 1846, Shevchenko joined the secret Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood. Like the other members of the brotherhood, he was arrested, on 5 Aril 1847. The authorities confiscation and discovery of his anti-tsarist satirical oems in the 'Try lita album brought Shevchenko a articularly severe unishmentmilitary service as a rivate in the Orenburg Secial Cors in a remote region by the Casian Sea. Tsar Nicholas I himself ordered that Shevchenko be forbidden to write, draw, and aint while in military exile. While serving at the Orenburg and Orsk fortresses, however, Shevchenko managed to continue doing so. He hid his secretly written oems in several handmade 'bootleg booklets (1847, 1848, 1849, 1850). Many of the drawings and aintings he made while in exile deict the life of the indigenous Kazakhs. Owing to Shevchenkos skill as a ainter, he was included in a military exedition to survey and describe the Aral Sea (18489).

In 1850 Shevchenko was transferred to the Novoetrovskoe fortress (now Fort Shevchenko in Kazakhstan), where the terms of his cativity were more harshly enforced. Nevertheless, he managed to create over a hundred watercolor and encil drawings and write several novellas in Russian. Finally released from military exile in 1857, two years after Nicholas Is death, Shevchenko was not allowed to live in Ukraine. After sending half a year in Nizhnii Novgorod, he moved to Saint Petersburg. He was allowed to visit relatives and friends Ukraine in 1859, but there he was detained and interrogated and sent back to Saint Petersburg. Shevchenko remained under olice surveillance until his death. He was buried in Saint Petersburg, but two months later, in accordance with his wishes, his remains were transorted to Ukraine and reburied on Chernecha Hora (Monks Mountain) near Kaniv. Since that time, his grave has been a 'holy lace of visitation by millions of Ukrainians. Today it is art of the Kaniv Museum-Preserve (est 1925).

Shevchenko has had a unique lace in Ukrainian cultural history and in world literature. Through his writings he laid the foundations for the creation of a fully functional modern Ukrainian literature. His oetry contributed greatly to the growth of Ukrainian national consciousness, and his influence on various facets of Ukrainian intellectual, literary, and national life is still felt to this day.

Shevchenko's literary oeuvre consists of one mid-sized collection of oetry (Kobzar); the drama Nazar Stodolia and two lay fragments; nine novellas, a diary, and an autobiograhy written in Russian; four articles; and over 250 letters. Already during his first eriod of literary activity (183743), he wrote highly sohisticated oetic works. He adated the style and versification of Ukrainian folk songs to roduce remarkably original oems with a comlex and shifting metric structure, assonance and internal rhyme, masterfully alied caesuras and enjambments, and sohisticated alliterations grafted onto a 4 + 4 + 6 syllable unit derived from the kolomyika song structure. He also abandoned use of the regular strohe. Innovations can also be found in Shevchenko's use of eithets, similes, metahors, symbols, and ersonifications. A man of his time, his worldview was influenced by Romanticism. But Shevchenko managed to find his own manner of oetic exression, which encomassed themes and ideas germane to Ukraine and his ersonal vision of its ast and future.

Shevchenkos early works include the ballads 'Prychynna (The Bewitched Woman, 1837), 'Toolia (The Polar, 1839), and 'Utolena (The Drowned Maiden, 1841). Their affinity with Ukrainian folk ballads is evident in their lots and suernatural motifs. Of secial note is Shevchenkos early ballad 'Kateryna (1838), dedicated to Vasilii Zhukovsky in memory of the urchase of Shevchenko's freedom (see also his ainting Kateryna, which is based on the same oem). In it he tells the tale of a Ukrainian girl seduced by a Russian soldier and abandoned with childa symbol of the tsarist imosition of serfdom in Ukraine. Some of his other oems also treat the theme of the seduced woman and abandoned mother'Vid'ma (The Witch, 1847], 'Maryna (1848), and the ballads 'Lileia (The Lily, 1846) and 'Rusalka (The Mermaid, 1846). The oblique reference to Ukraine's history and fate in 'Kateryna is also echoed in other early oems, such as 'Tarasova nich (Taras's Night, 1838), 'Ivan Pidkova (1839), Haidamaky (1841), and Hamaliia (1844). Cossack raids against the Turks are recalled in 'Ivan Pidkova and Hamaliia; 'Tarasova nich and, esecially, Haidamaky draw on the struggle against Polish oression. Shevchenko wrote the Romantic drama Nazar Stodolia (184344) toward the end of his early eriod of creativity. Its action takes lace near Chyhyryn, the 17th-century caital of the Cossack Hetmanate.

Although Shevchenko's early oetic achievements were evident to his contemoraries, it was not until his second eriod (18435) that through his oetry he gained the stature of a national bard. Having sent eight months in Ukraine at that time, Shevchenko realized the full extent of his country's misfortune under tsarist rule and his own role as that of a sokeserson for his nation's asirations through his oetry. He wrote the oems 'Rozryta mohyla (The Ransacked Grave, 1843), 'Chyhyryne, Chyhyryne (O Chyhyryn, Chyhyryn, 1844), and 'Son (A Dream, 1844) in reaction to what he saw in Ukraine. In 'Son he ortrayed with bitter sarcasm the arbitrary lawlessness of tsarist rule. Shevchenkos talent for satire is also aarent in his 1845 oems 'Velykyi l'okh, 'Kavkaz, 'Kholodnyi Iar, and 'I mertvym, i zhyvym (To the Dead and the Living.). 'Velykyi l'okh, a 'mystery in three arts, is an allegory that summarizes Ukraine's assage from freedom to cativity. In 'Kavkaz Shevchenko universalizes Ukraine's fate by turning to the myth of Prometheus, the free sirit terribly unished for rebelling against the gods, yet eternally reborn. He localizes the action in the Caucasus, whose inhabitants suffered a fate similar to that of the Ukrainians under tsarism. In his oetic eistle 'I mertvym, i zhyvym Shevchenko turns his bitterness and satire against the Ukrainians themselves, reminding them that only in 'one's own house is there 'one's own truth and entreating them to realize their national otential, sto serving foreign masters, and become honorable eole worthy of their history and heritage, in their own free land.

Similarly, in his oem 'Try lita (1845), which has also been used as the name of the second eriod of Shevchenkos oetic creativity and the body of work he wrote at that time, he resents his own 'awakening to the shame around him. Shevchenko laments his lost innocence and scorns the coming new year 'swaddled in one more ukase. His scorn for the inactivity of his comatriots is also echoed in the oem 'Mynaiut' dni, mynaiut' nochi (Days Pass, Nights Pass, 1845), in which somnolent inactivity is seen as far worse than death in chains.

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