Our Great Kobzar had many friends. It should be noted that practically all of them played an affordable role in Shevchenko's life and creative work. First of all, we should mention Ivan Soshenko - Ukrainian painter and teacher, who took an active part in his liberation from serfdom.
In June 1835 Ivan Soshenko introduced Ukrainian writer, teacher and publisher Yevhen Hrebinka to Taras Shevchenko. Yevhen Pavlovych helped to publish «Kobzar» in 1840. And what is important, he also took part in the organization of Taras' redemption of serfdom. Poet Vasyl Zhukovskyi was also involved in this important event. His portrait was played in the lottery and brought 2500 rubles, which were spent on buying young Shevchenko from serfdom.
Karl Briullov also played his role in establishing Shevchenko as an artist. He was born in 1799 in St. Petersburg, in the family of academician, carver and engraver. He painted in Petersburg Academy of Arts. Many artists-realists, Ukrainian in particular, learned from Briullov. Among them were Ivan Soshenko, Dmytro Bezperchyi, Taras Shevchenko and others. Great Kobzar made friendship with Ukrainian artist Yakiv Yanenko. They met on literary-musical evenings. The poet mentioned him in the story «Artist».
One more art historian and publisher played a considerable role in Shevchenko's creative work. It was Vasyl Hryhorovych, who was born in Poltava region. He promoted the development of art education in Ukraine, helped young artists. Vasyl Hryhorovych also assisted in Taras Shevchenko's liberation from serfdom. In memory of his release poet devoted his poem «Haidamaky» to V. Hryhorovych. Great Kobzar was also a friend of an artist Apollon Mokrytskyi, whom he often met. Mokrytskyi mentions our genius in «Artist's diary». He also contributed to buying Shevchenko from serfdom. And Ukrainian artist Petro Sokolov helped to rewrite «Kobzar», he wrote poems and songs under Shevchenko's influence, painted the poet, took part in his funeral.
A special page is devoted to Taras' friendship with Vasyl Shternberh - Russian and Ukrainian artist. Got acquainted in 1838, they became the closest friends: lived in one flat, visited theatres together. Shternberh painted the poet; Shevchenko devoted the poem «lvan Pidkova» to his friend in return. Great Kobzar paled also with Semen Hulak-Artemovskyi. Ukrainian songs, in particular «Stands sycamore over the water» (devoted to Taras Shevchenko, with whom they have been friends since 1838), «l don't want to sleep», «Oh, on the hill the reapers reap», took a separate place in his creative heritage.
Platon Symyrenko - famous industrialist, one of the founders of rational gardening in Ukraine - also contributed to spreading of the creative heritage of the great son of Ukrainian nation. It was Platon Symyrenko who financed the edition of «Kobzar» in 1860. Besides he helped Ukrainian cultural institutions.
Separate page is the friendship of Panteleimon Kulish and Shevchenko. While Taras was a serf till the age of 24, Kulish was born in a free Cossack family, was able to study and develop.
Both of them were the members of Cyril and Methodius brotherhood, and were sentences to exile practically with the similar verdicts for their creative work. «To prohibit writing and send on service to Vologda», - such sentence was passed [to Kulish. But neither Kulish, nor Shevchenko was broken by exile and persecution. Impressing us with their directness and boldness, each in his own way, according to their characters and views, didn't stop fighting for the fate of the nation even for a moment. It is known that Shevchenko communicated with Kulish, was the best man at his wedding, deeply honoured Kulish's creative activity.
Shevchenko was also very well acquainted with Volodymyr Dal - famous scientist and writer. And Kobzar got acquainted with him in St. Petersburg, on literary Fridays, which Yevhen Hrebinka held in his flat. When Kobzar was on his soldier service, he told his friend Vasyl Lazarevskyi about his release. «lf you see Dal, - he wrote from the exile in 1847, the first year of his soldier service, - bowing on my part, ask him to beg V. Perovskyi (Orenburg gov- ernor-general) to release me at least from the barn, that is ask for a permission for fleilHigMTOHHKOB me to draw. Dal is a kind man, clever and influential, he knows well how we suffer Levlhemchuihnikov here, and he will have a grave sin, if he doesn't say at least one word for me». After many delicate attempts Shevchenko's request was fulfilled.
And Yakiv de Balmen - Ukrainian artist-amateur, officer, author of several manuscript stories - got acquainted with Taras Shevchenko 29 June, 1843 in T. Volkhovska manour. The poet also visited his manour Lynovytsia, Pyriatyn district the same year. They also met later.
Balmen and M. Bashylov made 39 illustrations each: headpieces, endings and capital letters to the manuscript «Kobzar» by Shevchenko. Before his departure to Caucasus de Balmen sent this collection to M. Zakrevskyi (for handing to Shevchenko). Yakiv de Balmen illustrated poems «Haidamaky» and «Hamaliia». Shevchenko devoted him the poem «Caucasus» - after Balmen's death in Ichkeriia. Several lines of the poem were addressed directly to the dead, where Shevchenko mourned over the vain death of the Ukrainian for the foreign interests of the empire.
One cannot but mention Shevchenko's friendship with the artist Ivan Aivazovskii. Acquaintance with Hohol, Shevchenko, and friendship with Shternberh helped the artist to understand and fall in love with the nature of Ukraine, its people forever. Ivan Aivazovskii and Taras Shevchenko studied in Imperial Academy of Arts in different years, but several times their creative ways crossed. Ivan Kosti- antynovych got acquainted with Taras Hryhorovych in 1839 at the autumn exhibition in the academy of arts, where his Crimean land scapes were exposed together with two water-colours by Shevchenko. At the exhibition in 1842 again his painting «Blue grotto in Sorrento» and Shevchenko's «Group of sleeping beggars» were demonstrated at one time.
One more Ukrainian and Russian artist Lev Zhemchuzhnikov, who learned from Karl Briullov, was very close to Great Kobzar. In 1852 he lived in Ukraine, collected Ukrainian folklore, travelled through villages, and lived in Vasylivka - by Hohol's mother. Then he first got acquainted with Taras Shevchenko's creative work. He assisted the poet financially in exile and met him personally in 1860. To continue traditions of Shevchenko's «Picturesque Ukraine», in 1861-1862 he made a series of etchings under the same name and published them in album - as a supplement to the magazine «Basis».
Taras Shevchenko in the memory of generations. - Ternopil: PE "Lider", 2014. - 300 p.