Friday, 22 November 2019

Ilya Repin - part 1



Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844 – 1930) was a Russian realist painter. He was the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature. He played a major role in bringing Russian art into the mainstream of European culture. His major works include "Barge Haulers on the Volga": 

1870-73 Barge Haulers on the Volga
oil on canvas 131 x 281 cm
 Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

It depicts 11 men physically dragging a barge on the banks of the Volga River. They are at the point of collapse from exhaustion, oppressed by heavy, hot weather. The work is a condemnation of profit from inhumane labour. Although they are presented as stoical and accepting, the men are defeated; only one stands out: in the centre of both the row and canvas, a brightly coloured youth fights against his leather binds and takes on a heroic pose.
Repin conceived the painting during his travels through Russia as a young man and depicts actual characters he encountered. It drew international praise for its realistic portrayal of the hardships of working men, and launched his career. Soon after its completion, the painting was purchased by Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and was exhibited widely throughout Europe as a landmark of Russian realist painting. It has been described as "perhaps the most famous painting of the Peredvizhniki movement for its unflinching portrayal of backbreaking labour."


Repin was born in Chuguye in Kharkov Governate into a family of "military settlers." His father traded horses and his grandmother ran an inn. He entered military school to study surveying. Soon after the surveying course was cancelled, his father helped him to become an apprentice with Ivan Bunakov, a local Icon painter, where he restored old icons and painted portraits of local notables through commissions. In 1863 he went to St. Petersburg Art Academy to study painting but had to enter Ivan Kramskoy preparatory school first. He met fellow artist Ivan Kramskoy (Kramskoy is also featured on this blog - see index) and the critic Vladimir Stasov during the 1860s, and his wife, Vera Shevtsova in 1872 (they remained married for ten years). In 1874–1876 he showed at the Salon in Paris and at the exhibitions of the Itinerants Society in Saint Petersburg. He was awarded the title of Academician in 1876.
In 1880 Repin travelled to Zaporizhia to gather material for the 1891 "Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks." 

1880-91c The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Turkish Sultan Mahmoud IV of the Ottoman Empire
oil on canvas 203 x 358 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Repin also painted a second version somewhere between circa 1880 and 1896:

1890-96c The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Turkish Sultan Mahmoud IV
oil on canvas 174 x 265 cm
Kharkov Museum of Art, Ukraine
His "Religious Procession in Kursk Province" was exhibited in 1883:In 1892 he published the "Letters on Art" collection of essays. He taught at the Higher Art School attached to the Academy of Arts from 1894. In 1898 he purchased an estate, Penaty (the Penates), in Kuokkala, Finland (now Repino, St. Petersburg.) 

1880-83 Religious Procession in the Kursk Province
oil on canvas 175 x 280 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In 1901 he was awarded the Legion of Honour. In 1911 he travelled with his common-law wife Natalia Nordman to the World Exhibition in Italy,  where his painting "Demonstration 17 October 1905" and his portraits were displayed in their own separate room.

1905 Demonstration 17 October 1905
oil on canvas 182.9 x 127 cm
The State Russian Museum, St, Petersburg

In 1916 Repin worked on his book of reminiscences, "Far and Near" with the assistance of Korney Chukovsky. He welcomed the February Revolution of 1917, but was rather sceptical towards the October Revolution. 
Soviet authorities asked him a number of times to return, but he remained in Finland for the rest of his life. Celebrations were held in 1924 in Kuokkala to mark Repin's 80th birthday, followed by an exhibition of his works in Moscow. In 1925 a jubilee exhibition of his works was held in the Russian Museum in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Repin died in 1930 and was buried at the Penates.

The Penates, the Repin House-Museum

 This is part 1 of 9 on the works of Ilya Repin:

1859 Portrait of A. Bocharova
oil on canvas

1864 Preparation for the Examination
oil on canvas 38 x 46 cm
The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Russia

1865 Portrait of Dr. K.F. Yanitsky
oil on canvas 59 x 48 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1865 Portrait of Yanitskaya
oil on canvas 59 x 49 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1866 Portrait of an Officer
oil on canvas 87 x 74 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1866 Portrait of M.V. Prakhov
oil on canvas 57 x 45 cm
Kiev National Museum of Russian Art, Ukraine

1866 Portrait of Sculptor Mark Antokolski
pencil 37 x 28 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1867 Diogenes and a Boy
oil on cardboard
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

1867 Portrait of a Boy
oil on canvas
Taganrog Museum of Fine Arts, Russia

1867 Portrait of Ivan Stepanovich Panov
oil on canvas 58 x 49 cm

1867 Portrait of V. E. Repin, the Artist's brother
 oil on canvas
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1867 Tatyana Repina, the Artist's Mother
oil on canvas 60 x 50 cm
National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic

1868 Portrait of Architect Filipp Khloboshchin
 oil on canvas 45 x 61 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

1869 Job and His Friends
oil on canvas 133 x 199 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

1869 Portrait of A.I. Shevtsov
oil on canvas 14 x 27 cm
Kyrgyz National Fine Arts Museum, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

1869 Portrait of Vera Shevtsova
oil on canvas 83 x 67 cm

1870 A Barge Hauler
oil on canvas 38 x 31 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

1870 Academic Keeper Efimov
oil on canvas

1870 Barge Hauler
oil on canvas 52 x 30 cm
Tretykov Gallery, Moscow

1870 Barge Haulers on the Volga
oil on canvas

1870 Barge Haulers Pulling on the Strap
sketch

1870 Burlak
oil on canvas

1870 Cry of prophet Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem
oil on cardboard 91 x 75 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1870 Hill on the Volga
pencil 28 x 37 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1870 Italians
watercolour 14 x 9 cm
Kiev National Museum of Russian Art, Ukraine

1870 Portrait of a Man
oil on canvas 24 x 16 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1870 Portrait of Painter Pavel Chistyakov
 graphite 28 x 20 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1870 Volga Landscape with Boats
oil on canvas 25 x 37 cm
Private Collection

1870 Raising of Jairus' Daughter
oil on canvas 38 x 50 cm
Poltava Regional Art Museum, Ukraine

1871 Raising of Jairus' Daughter ( study )
oil on canvas 52 x 89 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1871 Raising of Jairus'
 Daughter
oil on canvas 229 x 382 cm
1871 Raising of Jairus' Daughter ( study )
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

1870-91 Storm on the Volga
oil on canvas 55 x 102 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

1870s Portrait of an unknown woman
etching 27 x 21 cm
Vitebsk Art Museum, Belarus

1871 Portrait of a Kalmyk
pencil
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1871 Portrait of a Russian Peasant
pen and ink
Private Collection

1871 Portrait of Sculptor I. Ginzburg
oil on canvas 31 x 25 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1872 A Gathering of Russian, Polish and Czech Musicians
oil on canvas 198 x 393 cm

1872 Barge Haulers
oil on canvas 62 x 97 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

1872 Head of a Woman
pencil 29 x 37 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

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