Stamp release is timed to mark the 170th anniversary of the birth of Ilya Repin.
Kharkiv Art Museum holds a picture of "The Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan" as one of the most prominent in its collection.
The narrative relates to events in 1675 when the Turkish Sultan Mohammed IV sent the Zaporozhye Cossacks a threatening, haughty ultimatum, ordering them so surrender immediately "of their own volition and without resistance" or to perish at his hand. The Cossacks composed a scathing reply, brimming with humor and scorn: "We do not fear your troops, we will fight you with this earth and water" they wrote, adding highly obscene curses and insulting names.
Repin first heard about the incident in 1878 and won over by these courageous, jovial, freedom loving people, he completed the first sketch of what over thirteen years would evolve into this unforgettable picture. Repin studied the history and life of the Zaporozhye Sech meticulously. He depicted these powerful characters with consummate skill, producing lively, expressive and psychologically insightful portraits of the Cossacks, led by Ataman Ivan Serko, which capture their adventurous and invincible spirit, their bold daring and comradely unity.