Taras Shevchenko. Rock "Monk". Watercolour on paper. [Novopetrovsk fort]. [V – X 1853].
Etching after the drawing by Shevchenko and description of the depicted area Br. Zaleski placed in his album:
"Near Novopetrovsk raid on a steep rocky seashore climbs rock "Monk" at eighty feet high, so named because of its shape. It stands as a guard stone of desert. It is surrounded by a singly scattered rocks, and at the foot of it eternally roaring sea. Residents of fort throughout the winter devoid of any means of communication with the western coasts of the Caspian Sea. They trying to find out what is new is happening in this world, with the coming of spring, once the ice disappears, which binds the sea, set on top of "Monk" and eagerly look first sail on the horizon. Hence they are easily noticed it because "Monk" prevails over the other rocks of the coast, but no single ship, even a small boat, do not stick to the bottom of the cliff, so many underwater rocks in the surrounding waters" [album «La vie des steppes Kirghizes», Paris, 1865, p. 45].
This rock also mentioned N. Savichev [see newspaper "Cossack messenger", Novocherkassk, 1884, ¹ 53 – 54].
Watercolor could be made before May 1853, when Shevchenko became friendly with the family of new fort commandant I. O. Uskov and no longer afraid of his special supervision over himself. Not later than the end of October 1853 he sent it to Br. Zaleski, as last reported A. Węgrzynowski in letter of 17.XI: "I have pictures for you, my Arcady, similar in nature to Gypsy, for sale of which will ask you, but I have to hold them there for a couple of weeks".
In the following letter from 20.II 1854 Zaleski explained sent pictures: "On one of these pictures depicted rock called "Monk", a short mile from the fort, on the second – Novopetrovsk landing; on the third – music trio in the desert…" [G. P. Palamarchuk, Biographical materials Shevchenko in Br. Zaleski's correspondence, "Shevchenko studies", vol. 1, K., 1958, p. 122].
Zaleski delayed these works of Shevchenko to copy for some time. In January 1854 Shevchenko thank him for that: "Once again thank you for copy of Monk…" Then the picture copied by A.M. Butakova, as evidenced by the further text of the letter: "For Alexei Ivanovich wish all the best from me in his new life, thank him for remembering me and her for copies of Monk".
Apparently, watercolor was purchased by A. Wengrzhynowsky, because in a letter dated November 8, 1854 to Br. Zaleski Shevchenko wrote: "…kiss three times good Arcady. About Monk write to him, not to worry, my money is still there".
According to recent reports, it was in the collection of J. Tarnowska in the village Sukha near the city Żywec (Poland), and now – at the Warsaw National Museum.
Reproduced by a copy done by Br. Zaleski (size 16.9 × 29), which was in the album that is kept in the State Museum of Taras Shevchenko (inv. number g – 112). In assembly sheet in album written: "Vue de Novopetrovsk sur la mer Caspienne par Zalesky".
Rock "Monk", drawn from a different point, see also in watercolor "Tjuk-Karagaj cape at Mangyshlak peninsula» (¹ 60).
G. P. Palamarchuk
After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete Works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1964, Vol. 9, ¹ 30 (image), p. 21 – 22 (note).