Taras Shevchenko. Portrait of Ira Aldridge. Colored paper, an Italian and a white pencil (35.6 × 28.3 cm). [St.Petersburg]. 25.XII 1858. Taras Shevchenko National Museum, inv. № – 285.
Beneath the portrait – author's signature and date in white pencil: 1858. Shevchenko 25. December and ink autograph of I. Aldridge: Jra Aldridg.
Shevchenko met I. Aldridge during his tour in St. Petersburg (XI – XII 1858).
Witness of meetings Shevchenko with Aldridge – K. F. Junge (daughter of F. P. Tolstoy) in her memoirs explains their friendship:
"In addition to the similarity of characters, the two men had much in common, that they aroused deep sympathy to each other: one in his youth was a serf, the other belonged to a despised race, both experienced in the life of many bitter and insulting, both passionately loved his destitute people".
Talking about the performance of portrait Aldridge, K. F. Junge wrote:
"It is especially memorable to me sessions in the studio Shevchenko when he drawn tragedian… My sister and I sat down with feet on the Turkish sofa, Aldridge – on a chair against Shevchenko and the session began. A few minutes had only heard the creak of a pencil on paper, but how could Aldridge sit still. He started to move, we shouted to him to sit still, he makes a face, we could not help laughing. Shevchenko angrily stopped work. Aldridge did frightened face and again sat for a while still. "Can I sing?" – he asked suddenly. – "Come on him, let him sing," – said Shevchenko.
Negro began touching melancholy melody, turning to a more lively pace and ended desperate jig, Aldridge was dancing in the middle of the studio. Following this, he presented us the whole comic scenes of everyday life (he was a great comedian), Taras was fond of his cheerfulness and sang him songs of Little Russian, struck up conversations about the typical features of different nationalities, the similarity of folk tales, etc. In spite of the fact that is a fun and exciting pastime, to our delight with my sister, very addictive sessions, the portrait was finished and still came out alive and look like" [E. F. Junge, Memories, Moscow, Publishing house "Sphinx", [S. a.] p. 167 – 170].
M. I. Mikeshin in his memoirs, reports on the implementation of Shevchenko portrait Aldridge in etching ["Memoirs on Shevchenko by M. Mikeshin" – in "Kobzar" with the addition memoirs on Shevchenko by Kostomarov and Mikeshin, Prague, 1876, p. XVIII], but its location is unknown (see comment for not found etching number 160).
Storage areas: property of A. I. Tolstaja, K. F. Junge, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Institute of Taras Shevchenko, Kharkiv, Gallery of pictures Shevchenko, Kharkiv.
V. Ja. Tkachenko
After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete Works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1963, v. 10, № 33 (image), p. 22 – 23 (note).