Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born Maria Konstantinovna Bashkirtseva in Gavrontsy near Poltava, to a wealthy noble family, she grew up abroad, traveling with her mother across most of Europe. Educated privately, she studied painting in France at the Académie Julian and would go on to produce a remarkable body of work in her short lifetime, the most famous being the portrait of Paris slum children titled The Meeting and In the Studio, (shown here) a portrait of her fellow artists at work. Unfortunately, a large number of Bashkirtseff's works were destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.
From the age of 13, she began keeping a journal, and it is for this she is most famous. Her personal account of the struggles of women artists is documented in her published journals but it is a revealing story of the bourgeoisie. Titled, I Am the Most Interesting Book of All, her popular diary is still in print today. Her letters, consisting of her correspondence with the writer Guy de Maupassant, were published in 1891.
Dying of tuberculosis at the age of 23, Bashkirtseff lived just long enough to become an intellectual powerhouse of Paris in the 1880s. A feminist, in 1881, using the nom de plume "Pauline Orrel," she wrote several articles for Hubertine Auclert's feminist newspaper, La Citoyenne. One of her famous quotes is: Let us love dogs, let us love only dogs! Men and cats are unworthy creatures.
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