- On 2022-02-03
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Ilya Répine:the painter of the Russian soul!Petit Palais.Oct.2021-Jan.2022
Ilya Repine,painter of the Russian soul
Hi friends !after a complicated year perturbed by the Covid,the Little art seeker is back with many wishes for you and your families for a dazzling 2022 year with many discoveries and new exhibitions in Paris!
For you ,I visited a gorgeous exhibitions at the petit Palais dedicated to one of my favorite Russian painter Ilya Répine.
Le petit palais.
The man is the most famous Russian painter of his time, his name was linked to Russian realism and he was passionate with all the aspects of the Russian culture.His long career spanning 60 years made Repine the vivid witness to all the upheavals in Russia between 1860 and the birth of the Soviet Union.
Repine was totally passionate about all the aspects of the Russian culture and the Russian soul and realized gorgeous portraits of all the personalities of his day from writer Léonard Tolstoy to composer Mussorgsky as well as Tsars who commissioned his works.
A painter,a public figure,professor,art theorist and writer he was a central figure of his time but will finish his life and career in Finland until his death at the age of 86 refusing to come back in his native country.
I made a selection of some portraits that I loved in this huge retrospective dedicated to this amazing painter.
During a stay in Paris,Repine made beautiful paintings of the Parisian life from the elegant Parisian ladies to the street vendors.
One of the largest painting of the exhibition,covering a wall is dedicated to a traditional poem telling the story of Sadko,a wealthy merchant of Novgorod who fell in the underwater of the tsar of the sea and was invited to choose between several brides. He finally married a young Russian girl named Chervanushka.
Repine worked upon the painting during three years and the work was presented at the academy of fine arts in Saint Petersburg in 1876 receiving the title of academician because of the originality of the painting.
I really enjoyed the series of portraits of all the great figures of the Russian art of his time from the composers to the great writers .
the family circle
A prolific portraitist,Repine used family members as his models who could pose for him at leisure.In his restricted circle he gave free rein to his innovative approach and to his experiments with light and colour, helping to renew the portraiture genre of Russia.
His first wife Vera and his children, little Vera, Nadia and Yuri were his preferred models.I loved the exquisite portrait of his son Yuri with the oriental decor in the background.
Life in Russia
Répine painted numerous episodes inspired by the peasantry.The theme of the religious procession runs through his work until the 1920 ‘s,sometimes treated in several large -format paintings.In these paintings,he illustrates the persistence of Russian traditions and the fervor of the Russian people for collective events like holidays and religious rites.
Repin as a portrait artist
Fascinated by the human soul,he painted the celebrities of the day:politicians,authors,scientists,writers,women of the world and influential figures.
A keen music lover,he immortalized the composers who made the choice to privilege Russian traditions.
Like other Russian painters of his day,Repin also took an interest in historical Russia that of the boyars and the streltsy.
A great painter of history,he excelled at giving his figures an exceptional presence.Meticulous about historical accuracy, he undertook research on the costumes and accessories that contributed to the decor and atmosphere of the scenes he depicted.
Feeling sympathy for the populist movement he illustrated the sacrifice of victims of revolutionary struggles and at the same time however, he produced what he called with affection”his royal painting “of the tsar Alexander III receiving rural district elders”,which presents the tsar as the great unifier of people.
Repine had very strong links with the greatest Russian writer Léonard Tolstoï and the exhibition displays a lot of portrays showing the intimacy and the friendship between the painter and the writer.
Léon Tolstoï Barefoot.1901
Glory and doubt
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries,Repin was an artist at the height of his fame.Despite his successes however he experienced several periods of self-doubt.
On more than one occasion,he was tempted to quit teaching at the academy of fine arts in Saint Petersburg.These years were also darkened by family difficulties.
The publication of his letters on art in the 1890’s provoked a controversy which had an impact on him.
At the turn of the century,Russia experienced major upheavals:the revolutions of February and October rocked the old regime.The crown was shaken in the face of a Russian people demanding the establishment of democratic institutions.
Despite his promises, Nicholas II continued to exercise his power of veto over the parliament.The gap therefore widened between the Tsar and his people until the brutal overthrow of the Romanov dynasty in 1917.Repin once again found material to question the history of his country.
New life at the Penates
In 1899,Repin purchased in the name of his new partner, writer and photographer Natalia Nordman, a plot of land in Kuokkala,(today Repine, )40 kilometers from Saint Petersburg,in the territory of the Grand duchy of Finland, then annexed to Imperial Russia.There he built a house with a workshop.This estate was called the Penates and in 1903,Repin moved there permanently,receiving relatives and countless visitors while continuing to paint.The Penates became a real artistic hub and Natalia vegetarian lunches became legendary.Repin established strong relations with the Finns and will die there refusing to go back in his native Russia.
I adored this gorgeous exhibition which reminded me the beautiful trip I made with my family in Russia and Saint Petersburg.To me Repin is one of the greatest painter able to reveal the Russian soul with talent and sensitivity!
See you soon for another exhibition in Paris!