Ilya Yefimovich Repin was a great Russian realist artist of the 19th century, a master of historical and genre painting, an outstanding portrait painter, a profound psychologist and a person who was not indifferent to the fate of Russia.
Ilya Repin had an amazing talent for transforming everyday scenes into epic ones, for seeing in the particular the general, historical, philosophical. Another gift of the painter was the ability to show heroes with a deep personality. Repin’s paintings are the pinnacle of the realistic style, but in the work of the master there was a place for a vivid artistic fantasy, which allowed him to create colorful sections of historical eras.
Ilya Repin was a member of the Association of the Itinerants, and, sharing its values, he dedicated many works to the people. The masters were called the encyclopedist of post-reform Russia. The artist’s calling card was “Barge Haulers on the Volga”, in which Ilya Efimovich raised the subject of everyday life to the level of socio-philosophical.
Ilya Repin left to descendants over five hundred works (including drawings, sketches, sketches). Almost all of his significant works are in large museums, including the Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Metropolitan Museum in the United States.
Biography of Ilya Repin
Ilya Repin was born in the Kharkov province of the Russian Empire, in the small town of Chuguev. He came from a Cossack family and subsequently paid tribute to his ancestors in one of his masterpieces “The Cossacks write a letter to the Turkish Sultan.” At the age of eleven, the boy, who showed artistic abilities, was sent to a school of topographers, then to an icon-painting workshop. When the young man worked there, he learned about a fellow countryman who managed to graduate from the capital’s Academy of Arts and even get a gold medal there. The young artist also decided to go to the capital and, while working in an icon-painting artel, saved up money to make his dream come true.
In 1863, Repin came to St. Petersburg, but the Academy did not accept him: he lacked skill. The young man began to study at an evening drawing school, and after a while won the right to attend the Academy as an auditor. These were years full of hardships: the aspiring painter lived in the attic, saved a lot, worked part-time. Perseverance bore fruit: the Academy awarded the student’s creativity with three medals silver, small gold and large gold. The young man received the main award for the “Resurrection of the daughter of Jairus.”
Glory came to Ilya Repin early: he was not even thirty years old when his “Barge Haulers on the Volga” thundered. The masterpiece was noticed not only in Russia, but also in Europe. In 1878, the master entered the Association of the Itinerants. The 1880s were the peak years for his creative career. In the 1890s, the artist became close to the “World of Art”, but after a while their paths diverged and Repin began to argue with the decadents.
Ilya Efimovich made a great contribution to the development of Russian painting as a teacher.
Becoming a professor and a member of the Academy of Arts, he taught young people in 1894-1907. One of his main instructions sounded like this: “A sense of proportion! Knowing of limits!”
The most outstanding student of the master was Valentin Serov, whom Repin prepared to enter the Academy. In adolescence, Serov lived in the house of Ilya Repin and practically entered his family circle.
After the October Revolution, the painter found himself outside the new, socialist Russia in the Finnish Kuokkala. Despite the proposals of the Soviet government to return to the USSR, he did not dare to take this step.