Taras Shevchenko. King Lear. After Shakespeare's tragedy.
[1843, not later than 10 February. St. Petersburg].
Paper, galvanocaustics. 12,4 × 9,2; 15,8 × 11,7; 20,7 × 14,6 cm
Taras Shevchenko National Museum, № g-799.
At left bottom engraved signature: Shevchenko, in the middle under the image name: King Lear.
Print of engraving placed on a separate sheet at the end of the book "Galvanography or a way to produce galvanic copper plates for printing brushes work patterns. The writing of Franz von Kobell, Ph.D., professor of mineralogy at the University of Maximilian Ludwig in Munich and a member of many scientific societies" (St. Petersburg, 1843).
Censor allowed to issue publications February 10, 1843, which is the basis for the approximate dating of the work.
Publisher of the Russian translation of a named book V.S. Semenenko–Kramarevsky replaced the samples of plated reproduction, made by German artists with three of the St. Petersburg artists: Rudolf Zhukovsky "View in the Kiev Caves", William Hazenberg "Landscape with a bridge" and Taras Shevchenko "King Lear". All these works are signed by authors. They probably personally participated in the experiments, because on Zhukovsky's figure places the inscription: "Fig. of copper Robert Zhukowski first experience of 1843". Perhaps Shevchenko his picture endured on a copper board himself.
"Given the specific technique galvanography and signature of the Shevchenko – wrote W. Sichynsky – no doubt that the artist had to do this galvanic engraving the bronze board by own hand" [Sichynsky V. Shevchenko, engraver // Full publication of Taras Shevchenko. – Warsaw, Lviv, 1937. – T. 12. – P. 377].
As a work of Shevchenko in the book reads: "engraving, depicting King Lear, etched by galvanism for half an hour. Coming soon a separate pamphlet with a detailed description of this useful invention, and now this picture is attached as an attempt" (p. 54). These words can be seen that the work of Shevchenko is an example of another, newer bar method of reproduction. Detailed description of this method, called galvanocaustics, given in article by I.G. Spassky [I.G. Spassky The first years of galvanoplastics in Russia // B.S. Jacobi Works on Electrochemistry: Collection of articles and materials. – Moscow, Leningrad, 1957. – P. 231 – 235].
Storage sites: National Museum of Fine Arts. AS Pushkin (Moscow) from 1948 – National Museum of T.H. Shevchenko (Kyiv).
V. A. Sudak
After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1961, Vol. 7, part 1, № 72 (image); T.H. Shevchenko Complete works in 12 volumes. – Kyiv: Naukova Dumka, 2003, v. 7, p. 389 – 390 (note).