The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire. After World War II the Western part of Ukraine merged into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the whole country became a part of the Soviet Union as a single state entity. In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses.
Konstiantyn Trutovsky was a Ukrainianrealist painter and graphic artist. His artistic heritage includes numerous genre screens on Ukrainian themes. Trutovsky was interested in ethnography and depicted colorful Ukrainian folk customs, not shying away from "a dash of good humour".