Taras Shevchenko's 207th anniversary celebrated today

Source : 112 Ukraine

The prominent poet is often treated as a true symbol of struggle for the national identity, statehood and independence of Ukraine
08:41, 9 March 2021

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On March 9, Ukrainian society marks the anniversary of Taras Shevchenko the prominent poet and painter of the 19th century.

There are three key ‘not only’ and ‘not necessarily’ tied with the name of Taras Shevchenko.

The first one. The biography of Taras Shevchenko is not only about exile and serfdom.

Secondly. The poems of Taras Shevchenko are not necessarily about complete grief as it could look like. They are universal and can arouse different feelings.

Thirdly. Taras Shevchenko can be depicted not only like this:

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However, there are many more not only’ and ‘not necessarily’. On the birthday of the genius, we will focus on the mentioned three. We start with his biography.

Common genius person

Usually, the attention is drawn to the childhood and youth of Taras Shevchenko, serfdom and exile.

However, there is not much said about St. Petersburg's period of time in Shevchenko’s life that included many attributes peculiar for then artistic society.

A few attributes of the life of Shevchenko in St. Petersburg:

  • Taras Shevchenko was a fashionist. Something to specify.

Many researchers do not agree with the one-dimensional interpretation of Shevchenko’s image. The issue is about a classic portrait of a mustached man in a hat and peasant's russet overcoat.

It is known that during the living in St. Petersburg, he dressed quite fashionably. He mentioned in the diary the purchase of a rubber mackintosh that cost 100 rubles (a large sum that days).

  • Taras Shevchenko was a welcome guest at various balls and literature salons.
  • When he lived in St. Petersburg, he was friendly accepted by the family of Count Fyodor Tolstoy.

One more thing. Taras Shevchenko had two weaknesses and they are mentioned rarely if ever. The first one treated as the fact and the second is the version that is based on the words of people who got to know a poet.

The first one

It is women. Taras Shevchenko was a very fickle man. He fell in love six times during his life.

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The first love is fellow villager Oksana who was mentioned numerous times in the poems.

The second – Polish needlewoman Dzyunya Gusikovska (it did not work out).

The third – Hanna Zakrevska who was married to a colonel.

The fourth was princess Varvara Volkonskaya-Repnina; however, they were more friends than lovers.

The fight was Kateryna Piunova. At the moment, when Shevchenko proposed to her, she was only 14 and she was 30 years younger than him. The marriage did not take place due to the parents of the Kateryna as they stood against the couple.

The last love of the poet is 19-year-old Lukeria Polusmak. They also had to marry but it did not happen (the historians tell different reasons for it – from the cheating of Lukeria up to her refusal to move with Shevchenko to St. Petersburg).

Second weakness

Alcohol. According to contemporary of the poet, Shevchenko was partial to drink.

According to Mykola Kostomarov, he had a special love to tea with rum.

In other words

Possibly, someone would be surprised but Great Kobzar was attached to usual human failures. What does it prove? That genius might be common people.


A few years ago, the scandal took place in Kyiv. At Taras Shevchenko metro station, the exhibition of pictures ‘Quantum leap of Shevchenko’ was presented.

Artist Oleksandr Hrekhov depicted the poet in different modern ways: from Marvel Spider-Man up to Bender, the main character of Futurama.
112 Agency

The exhibition was not admired by supporters of a classical depiction of Kobzar. One of them, far-right activist Yuriy Khort cut the pictures.

However, it became the Streisand effect and more people got to know about them and the exhibition received many fans.

Generally, the portraits of Shevchenko became more modern recently. Many people saw the depiction of Andriy Yermolenko:

Andriy Yermolenko

Andriy Yermolenko

Andriy Yermolenko

Andriy Yermolenko

Thus, Taras Shevchenko, though with difficulties, move to the 21st century, receiving new images that he, according to many lovers of the poet’s works, might like.


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