3 The Famous Paintings of the Russian Artist Ilya Repin

Russian artist Ilya Repin, whose working capacity was boundless, created a huge number of masterpieces.

Choosing from a list of even his most well-known works only 3 paintings is not an easy task. We hope you don’t judge us too harshly.

Religious Procession in Kursk Province

A crowd of people as depicted by Ilya Repin is unmatched. On one hand – it is a massif that rolls over you like a huge wave.

But then you begin gradually picking out from the crowd some individual figures. And, surprisingly, each figure –a posture, a pose, a face –is a bright personality. Ilya Repin was able to reveal the true character of each participant of the religious procession.

The figures of the procession are all completely different: someone is just tired, the faces of others express feigned and even cloyingpiety, and thereis also swagger and humility, and just emptiness…

But this is in the center of the crowd, where are the “cream of the crop” walk. They are separated by horse cavalry and strong men on foot who are holding hands. On the right side of the painting a constable is aiming with a whip at a common man, who got in the center of the religious procession.

And on the sides, behind the human fence there are ordinary people. And their faces, especially the face of the hunchback, are natural and beautiful.

Also interesting is the idea of Ilya Repin to depict the surrounding area of the religious procession. Immediately behind the crowd you can see a hill with felled trees.

“… the exploiters .of the region… cut down my favorite forests,

where I have so many childhood memories. “

Ilya Repin

Ilya Repin Religious Procession in Kursk Province, oil on canvas

Religious Procession in Kursk Province, oil on canvas (1880-1883)

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

Ilya Repin painting tells the story of a fictional episode: Turkish sultan offered Zaporozhian Cossacks to surrender, and the Cossacks wrote him a reply interspersed with strong words. This letter, of course, did not exist. The letter was invented much later after real historical events in which the Cossacks brought many problems to the Turkish sultan.

According to a legend, this letter- grotesque was read in the presence of Ilya Repin, and the artist decided to create a painting.

Ilya Repin painted the characters of his painting from real people. Some of them were well-known people in Russia at that time.

For example, the ataman was painted from the Adjutant General Mikhail Dragomirov. His name is also associated with a historical anecdote. Dragomirov, having forgotten the birthday of the Russian Emperor, only remembered about it on September 3rd. To save the day he came up with a telegram: “For three days we have been drinking to your health, your Majesty. Dragomirov.” The Emperor Alexander III played along to the General and replied: “It’s time to wrap up. Alexander.”

Ilya Repin managed to create the most authentic encyclopedia of laughter, that is how differently are expressing their joy Repin Cossacks.

“… jolly people. Hell of a nation! “

Ilya Repin

Ilya Repin Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks (1880-1891)

Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581

Ilya Repin chose a real historical event for his painting: the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible in a fit of rage kills his eldest son Ivan.

The image of the Russian Tsar by Repin is collective, and his son Ivan was painted by Ilya Repin from the writer Garshin.

“… he had the face of a man doomed to die.”

Ilya Repin

Garshin really soon died.

The painting shakes you up. Madness of the beast, who just realized that he had lost. And now he’s not a scary tsar, but only a crushed man, crushed with his own hands.

“He is the most despicable and wretched murderer, as they can only be …”

Leo Tolstoy

At the same time, on the face of Ivan we see a smile. It is as if his forgives his father everything. Or maybe he is just happy even in the moment of death to be in the arms of his father.

The painting had a difficult fate: long lines of those wanting to see it, and a ban on displaying it (the first censorship with regards to a paintingin Russia), and an assault by an iconographerwith a knife. But the painting has survived it all.

Ilya Repin Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581

Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581 (1883-1885)

And which 3 Ilya Repinpaintings you would have chosen? 

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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