Bashkirtseff, Marie Konstantinovna (1858-1884) by Scholes, Robert

Marie Konstantinovna Bashkirtseff (1858 – 1884) She was born in Poltava, in the Ukraine. After being educated mostly at home, by governesses, she travelled with her family in Europe, staying in Vienna, Baden-Baden, and Geneva, where she recieved instruction in drawing, and then on to Munich, Paris, and Nice. In 1873, she began to write her . In 1874 she experienced the first symptoms of tuberculosis. In 1876 she began the study of painting, and, after a move to Paris, the serious study of singing. She had a vocal range of almost three octaves and a career in music seemed possible, until, after several years of study, she began to spit up blood. She entered the Atelier Julian in 1877, and has left us one of the best records of that scene in a painting of 1881. But she began to go deaf in 1880 and her condition rapidly became worse, despite taking the cures available at that time. During those years she began to show her painting and to publish articles under various pseudonyms. In 1882 she began to be noticed, both socially and artistically in Paris, and she became a friend of the painter . In 1884, she began a correspondence with Guy de Maupassant, sending him her . She seemed on the verge of both literary and artistic success, but her health failed rapidly. Marie Bashkirtseff died in late 1884, with her friend Bastien-Lepage following her shortly thereafter. Since her death her has been published many times in many formats, with varying degrees of fidelity to the original. Intimate Journal Jules Bastien-Lepage Intimate Journal Intimate Journal From “Homage to Marie Bashkirtseff” (): Elle était amie d’hommes de lettres et de peintres, peintre de talent elle-même, écrivain prolifique, sculptrice, chanteuse, lectrice passionnée et infatigable; femme mondaine qui parlait cinq langues et fascinait dans les salles de bal, la vierge slave -tel qu’on l’a appelée- a été, par sa beauté, son talent artistique et sa vie tragique, l’un des personnages le plus romantiques de l’époque la plus intense du XIXe. siècle. Inévitablement féministe, elle a protesté amèrement et a lutté contre tous les obstacles pour mener sa vocation artistique dans une époque où la femme était soumise et le mariage était le seul chemin à suivre. Elle a vécu et a écrit passionnément; c’est pourquoi, les pages de son Journal ne peuvent se lire qu’avec la même passion et elles éveillent la sympathie et la complicité. Aujourd’hui, ses tableaux sont exposés dans différents musées d’Europe et l’oeuvre monumentale qu’elle a écrite est compilée pour la première fois pour une édition intégrale. Elle est prématurément morte, quand elle commençait à connaître le succès artistique, quand elle était encore une promesse. À quels sommets serait-elle arrivée? Which we translate as: She was loved by men of letters and painters, a talented painter herself, a prolific writer, sculptor, passionate and indefatigable reader, a woman of the world who spoke five languages and fascinated in ball rooms. The “Slavik virgin”—as she was called—was, by virtue of her beauty, her artistic talent, and her tragic life, one of the most romantic personalities of the most intense epoque of the ninetwenth century. Inevitably a feminist, she protested bitterly and struggled against the obstacles to her artistic vocation in an epoque when women were submissive and marriage was the only road to follow. She lived and wrote passionately, which is why the pages of her journal cannot be read without awakening the same passion and complicity from the sympathetic reader. Today, her paintings are shown in museums all over Europe and her monumental body of written work is finally scheduled for a complete edition. If she had not died prematurely, just when she was beginning to experience artistic success, and was still developing as an artist, what heights might she have reached?

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