Ilya Repin

The Grand Old Man of Russian 19th-century art and one of the first Russian artists to achieve international significance was born in Chuguyev in modern-day Ukraine. His influence has been compared to that of Tolstoy in literature, and every Russian student knows his seminal works, ‘Barge Haulers on the Volga’ (1873), ‘Religious Procession in Kursk Province’ (1883) and ‘The Zaporozhian Cossacks writing a letter to the Turkish Sultan’ (1880–1891).

In 1864 he began attending the Imperial Academy of Arts, and met the painter Ivan Kramskoy, founder of the Wanderers movement, which criticized the inherent injustices in Russian society, of which ‘Barge Haulers on the Volga’ is Repin’s greatest statement, and possibly the high point of critical realism in Russian art. From 1874–1876 he showed at the Salon in Paris and at the exhibitions of the Itinerants’ Society in St Petersburg. He was awarded the title of Academician in 1876 for his painting ‘Sadko’. >> Read more


Parisian Woman