Katerina by Taras Shevchenko - 1840 - 93 × 72.3 cm Taras Schevchenko National Museum Katerina by Taras Shevchenko - 1840 - 93 × 72.3 cm Taras Schevchenko National Museum


oil on canvas • 93 × 72.3 cm
  • Taras Shevchenko - 9 March 1814 - 10 March 1861 Taras Shevchenko 1840

Taras Shevchenko was a Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, as well as a folklorist and ethnographer. His literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. He was also a painter; today we present one of his works.

In 1842, Shevchenko wrote a poem entitled Katerina. The poem was a sad love story but at the same time, it was addressing the issue of Russia imposing serfdom upon Ukraine, which was then a part of Russia. Katerina was a young girl, whose love was betrayed by a Muscovite or Moskal, which was a pejorative word used for Russian soldiers or Russians generally. Today's painting shows a scene from the poem, where Katerina (the symbol of Ukraine) said goodbye to her Russian lover (the Russian empire). 

As we can see, Katerina, a pretty-looking girl, pregnant by the soldier, is walking on a dusty road barefoot. She is wearing traditional Ukrainian clothes. Under the tree, we see a sitting man. More importantly, slightly in the distance, we see Katerina's ex-lover sitting on a reared horse. Obviously, he is going to leave, so, despite the detail, his figure is somewhat vague. 

Well, let's treat this painting like a prophecy.

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