Portrait of Lesya Ukrainka


October 25, 2021

The portrait of Lesya Ukrainka is a life portrait of the Ukrainian poetess, painted by the artist Ivan Trush in 1900 by order of the Taras Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh). Subsequent history with the portrait led to the rupture of relations between the writer and the artist.

NTSH Portrait Gallery

On the eve of the celebration of three anniversaries - the 25th anniversary of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ivan Kotlyarevsky's Aeneid and the 25th anniversary of Ivan Franko's literary activity - the idea arose to create a gallery of portraits of NTSh founders and prominent Ukrainian figures. In 1898 the project was initiated by the head of NTSh Mykhailo Hrushevsky. Ivan Franko offered to implement his plan to his friend Ivan Trush. Just a year earlier, the artist himself had asked Hrushevsky, the head of the NTSh, to provide financial assistance for graduating from the Krakow School of Fine Arts. Instead, he promised to fulfill any order of NTSh. In 1898 the artist began work on the first series of portraits. In 1899, the NTSh sent Trush to central Ukraine with the task of painting portraits of Dnieper figures, including Volodymyr Antonovych, Pavlo Zhytsky, Oleksandr Konysky, Mykola Lysenko, Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky, and Lesya Ukrainka, who lived in Kyiv at the time. The artist worked on the paintings from February 22 to November 8, 1900. All this time he was watched by Russian gendarmes. Major General Novitsky, the head of the Kyiv Provincial Gendarmerie Department, prepared a special report on Trush's stay and sent it to St. Petersburg.

Writing a portrait

Ivan Trush painted in the newly built Museum of Antiquities and Arts (National Art Museum of Ukraine) during the renovation work, which constantly hindered him. In the cold room, the artist also painted a portrait of Lesya Ukrainka, which she informed her sister Olga Kosach on April 1, 1900. The poetess complained that the road from the Latin Quarter, where she lived, to the museum and posing took her a long time. Ivan Trush also created a replica of the portrait. Relationship break After completing the portrait series, the artist exhibited it at his personal exhibition in Lviv. However, after the exhibition he did not �

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