Ivan Franko said:
“He had been a peasant's son and become a lord in the kingdom of the rebellious spirit. He had been a serf and become a titan in the realm of human culture. He had been a self-thought and indicated new, fresh and free ways to professors and scientifics.”
Childhood and Youth
Taras Shevchenko was born on March 9 in the village of Moryntsi, Zvenigorodka county.
According to family legends, Taras' forefathers were cossacks who served in the Zaporizhian Host and took part in liberation wars and uprisings of Ukraine in 17th and 18th centuries.
Once young Taras went looking after "the iron pillars that hold up the sky" and got lost in a field. Chumaks who met the boy took him along and brought him to Kerelivka.
On April 2 in1825, his father died a serf in corvée. Taras went to work for dyak Bohorsky who just arrived from Kyiv in 1824.
Soon tired of enduring Bohorsky's mistreatment, Shevchenko ran away to seek out a painting master in the surrounding villages.
In 1827 Shevchenko herded community sheep near his village. He then meets Oksana Kovalenko, a childhood friend, whom Shevchenko mentions in his works on multiple occasions. He dedicated to her the introduction to his poem "Mariana, the Nun".
When Taras turned 14, Vasiliy Engelgardt died and village Kyrylivka became a property of his son, Pavel Engelgardt.Shevchenko was turned into court service person of the new landlord at the Vilshana estates.
Pavel Engelgardt caught Shevchenko at night painting a portrait of cossack Matvei Platov, a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812. He boxed the ears of the boy and ordered him whipped in the stables with rods.The next day the order was executed by a coachman Sydorko who whipped Shevchenko.
“Bust of Woman”, 1830
After moving from Vilno to Saint Petersburg in 1831, Engelgardt took along Shevchenko. To have eventually a benefit for works of art (among the nobility was a fashion to have their own "chamber artists"), he gave him to study for four years to the painter Vasiliy Shiriayev.
“Engelgardt`s portrait”, 1833
“ The Liberty of Ukrainian nation was appeared by him, like a rise of the Sun, which was bathed in the blood of Ukrainian enemies.“
Glory to Ukraine!
Glory to heroes!