Monument to T.SHEVCHENKO in Kharkiv
Taras Shevchenko came from serf peasants and was deeply linked with the people by the ardent word of a poet, by a sharp pencil of an artist expressed their thoughts and feelings, defended their interests.
T.Shevchenko's works were loved by the people of different nationalities who inhabited our country. His main poetry collection book was titled "Kobzar". It means "the folk singer of ukrainian ballads". Very many kobzars were singing for many centuries about hard life of people of Ukraine and expressed their dreams about liberty. This book became the favorite one for all Ukrainians and the poet was named Kobzar after it. Now our Kobzar has been translated into dozens of foreign languages.
The autocratic government of tsarist Russia made everything possible to erase T.Shevchenko's name from people's memory, suppressed all attempts to immortalize in sculpture the image of the poet of genius. In 1860 the tsar personally prohibited the disposing of Shevchenko's bas-relief at the monument "Russia's Millennium" to famous Russian sculptor M.O.Mikeshin. Tsarist satraps frustrated the subscription organized through the whole of Russia to raise funds for erecting a monument to the poet in 1891. In spite of that, several first sculpture portraits of T.Shevchenko were created at the end of his life and soon after his death. Among those that we have extinct today is a sculpture portrait of Taras Grigoryevich created by M.S.Pimenov when Shevchenko was sitting to him. A classical representation of the poet - naked bust positioned on a rectangular basis - was created in 1862 by a well known Russian sculptor F.F.Kamensky. Between 60's and 70's the Ukrainian sculptor P.P.Zabila created marble and bronze busts of T.G.Shevchenko.
The first monument in the country, the bust in marble, to the great Kobzar was set up illegally in 1899 in Kharkov. It was situated in the garden near the house of Alchevskaya, who was the famous progressive benefactress, the founder of female Sunday school for adults. Its author was the kharkivite, a prominent Russian sculptor, professor of the St-Petersburg Academy of Arts V.A.Beklemishev. The students often gathered at this monument, poets-beginners recited their poetry here full of faith in the bright future of the people. In 1901 on the eve of the 40-th anniversary since T.Shevchenko's death the bust was removed by the "imperial instructions": the government was afraid of people's riot.
To the centenary since the poet's birth the progressive public of Russia organized the raising of money for the monument to T.Shevchenko in Kiev. This event became a matter of nationwide character. From 1909 to 1914 four competitions for the best project of a monument with participation of many well-known Russian sculptors were held. But the monument was not erected. A wave of indignation ran over the country. The more the reaction raged, the more actively the people asserted its rights to the memory of a beloved poet. Unknown craftsmen carved his portraits on the rocks, skilled hands of embroideresses adorned towels with Kobzar's images, folk singers and musicians made songs about T.Shevchenko, composed music to his verses.
After the October revolution motioned by Lenin the Soviet government issued the decree about monuments. In accordance with this decree there had to be erected monuments to well known revolutionaries, scientists and people of arts, among which was the Ukrainian poet, democratic revolutionary T. G. Shevchenko.
In 1918, a monument to the Kobzar by the Latvian sculptor Y.Tilberg was set up in Petrograd. The plinth bears the inscription "To the great Ukrainian serf poet Taras Grigoryevich Shevchenko - 1814 - 1861. The Great Russian Nation - 1918". At the same time the well known Russian sculptor S. M. Volnukhin (who had been the winner of the competition for the best monument to be erected in Kiev which was forbidden by the Tsarist government) created a monument to T.G.Shevchenko in Moscow. A bust monument to the poet (by B.M.Kratko) was unveiled in 1919 in Kiev. During the next twenty years monuments to T.G.Shevchenko by F.P.Balavensky, I.P.Kavaleridze, B.M.Kratko, and other sculptors were erected in many cities of the country.
One of them - magnificent and unique - beautified the Kharkov City. Its authors are the People's Artist of the USSR, Honoured Art Worker of Ukraine, Member of the Academy of arts of the USSR sculptor M.G.Manizer (1891 - 1966) and Honoured Art Worker of Belorus, Doctor of Architecture I.G.Langbard (1882-1951).
|From the History of the Monument Creation|
|M.G.Manizer had passion for the monumental sculpture
since the years of teaching in St-Petersburg Academy of Arts. In 1920
he created the impressive relief named "Worker". This relief won the
competition for the emblem of Moscow Permanent Industrial Exhibition.
In 1924 the bronze monuments to Lenin were unveiled in Kirovograd, Samara,
Khabarovsk, Pushkin by Manizer's projects. He created the project of
monument dedicated to "Victims of January the 9th, 1905". M.G.Manizer
showed the deep knowledge on history of people's revolutionary fight
and ability to embody the generalized images of participants of great
events in V.I.Chapaev Monument for Samara city. He came to the competition
in 1929 for the best T.G.Shevchenko monument in Kharkov as the mature
artist, the discoverer of great human ideas in individual realistic
Working at project, Manizer made the traveling by places associated with Shevchenko's life and poetry, created the great number of landscape and genre etudes. He studied the Shevchenko's correspondence and portraits very carefully. Self-portrait of poet, his few photographic pictures and the death mask were the most valuable for sculptor. Many times Manizer read "Kobzar" and memorial literature. "Every day brought something new, interesting and very important, - the sculptor told, - and Taras was becoming more and more close and native. Sometimes I imagined yet the Shevchenko so vividly - his growth, walk, expression of eyes and face, that it seemed to me I shouldn't surprise to meet him in the street!"
It was not at once that the sculptor came to the image of Shevchenko as a fighter. Only the third variation of a project (1933) satisfied him and won the first place at All-Union competition.
The author of projects of a number of largest public buildings in Byelorussia I.G.Langbard perfectly solved the architectural part of the monument having subjugated the form of pedestal to the author's lofty and artistic conception.
The statures of the monument were cast by the best Leningrad founders. Ukrainian as well as Russian craftsman worked together at the erection of a pedestal to the Great Kobzar. Due to the efforts of many artists, sculptors, actors and builders the monument was made during one year.
|General composition and details of the monument|
|The monument is a multifigured composition. Every part of it is being looked through gradually in the process of acquaintance with the monument and at the same time the last one is perceived as the integral whole.|
|The bronze figure of T.Shevchenko is towering on
the granite three-edged pylon over 16 figures which stand on the projections
of the architectural spiral which twines round the eleven meter high
pylon. These figures symbolize the continuous raising of the people's
struggle against oppressors - from rebellious images of Shevchenko's
works to participants of the First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907 and
the October Revolution. The final group of sculptures - coal-miner,
collective farmer and the young woman-student - glorifies free labour
and youth of new Ukraine.
A mighty figure of the Kobzar (5,5 meters high), dominates over the monument. The statue is full of dynamics. Resoluteness, powerful inner force are seen in the whole statue: in a slightly bent head, in the energetic gesture of the right hand clenched in a fist. The brightly expressed sculpture is relief silhouetted in space - it may be learned easily even from the large distance. The severe, merged suit folds, laconic forms, energetic processing of surface by large generalized planes created the might image. Author use more detailed manner only in the face modeling which helps him to achieve the portrait likeness, to reveal the inward world, to express the firmness and high spirit of poet-fighter. His stare is severe and angry. The strong-willed wrinkle between eyebrows throws the deep shadow at his eyes strengthening the emotional condensing of image. Wrinkles - the bitterness of thoughts - cross the high forehead of thinker :
|The angry gesture of his right hand, firmly clenched in the fist, emphasize the indignation degree of brave fighter which calls the people:|
|The great poet-democrat was fighting for the liberation
of his people from social and national oppression, believed in its wonderful
future. This is convincingly shown in the monument.
The figures which twine round the pedestal are two times smaller than that of the stature of Shevchenko. They are seen better from a short distance. Actors of Kharkov theatre "Beresil", later People's Artists of the Soviet Union N.M.Uzhviy, A.M.Buchma, I.A.Maryanenko, A.I.Serdyuk and other outstanding masters of the Ukrainian stage helped the sculptor very much in creating the figures similar to Shevchenko's images.
|"They were perfect artists! - M.G.Manizer remembered later.- I'll appreciate their help till the end of my life..."|
|The examination of figures must be accomplished,
by sculptor conception, in accordance with the compositional spiral
(starting from "Katerina" figure and moving opposite the clockwise direction).
So, let's begin:
|The sculptor achieved the plastic unity, harmony, wonderful coordination of all monument groups and figures because of deep penetrating into the epoch and into the personage characters, because of capacity to subordinate his creative manner to the main idea. Every statue appears logically and naturally in exactly founded place on the new step of architectural spiral surrounding the pylon with Kobzar figure. All they have classic proportions, carefully thought about poses and gestures, which show the characters variety as well as demonstrate the conceptual unity of the monument. The multifigured composition is expressed in epic, calm, solemn rhythm. The pedestal of the monument is made of polished labradorite, the statues are made of dark bronze - all this make the monument more expressive and majestic.|
|Today we can hardly imagine Kharkov without the
Shevchenko monument. This monument is inseparable from the surrounding
park area named after T.G.Shevchenko and the city's architectural integrity.
There is a strong concordance between multilevel shapes of the monument
and bold ledges of the magnificent edifices of the Derzhprom building
and Kharkov State University. The monument faces the main city thoroughfare
- the Sumskaya street. From his elevated position Kobzar is looking
at the city and its dwellers, and it seems like he is alive again and
is entering our life. Below him life is in full swing: the brass band
gives a performance, the war veterans, students come to the park, guided
tours are led by, young people appoint meetings, children - those who
will have to look after the city in the next millennium - play near
the monument in the park...
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