The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Il'ya Repin, 1844-1930

Nationality: Russian
Date of Birth: 1844.08.05
Place of Birth: Tchougoujev
Date of Death: 1930.11.29
Place of Death: Kuolekola


Repin was a Ukrainian born painter of historical subjects, portraits and genre.


Repin studied at the St Petersburg Academy of Art from 1864 to 1871. Stirred by revolutionary and democratic ideas in St Petersburg at the time, he painted celebrated works such as The Volga Boatmen (1870–73; State Russian Museum, St Petersburg) that sympathised with the poverty and injustice of peasant life.

Studying in France in the 1870s, he took to plein air painting and became an admirer of Manet.

His later work focused on historical themes and social realism in works such as Refusal to Confess (1879–85) and The Assembly (1883), both in the Tret'yakov Gallery, Moscow. He was also noted for his insightful portraits and dramatic large-scale works like Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan, 16 November 1581 (1884-5; Tret'yakov Gallery, Moscow).

Work by Repin appeared in several international shows in Paris and Munich, venues where Whistler was also represented. His portraits have stylistic afinities with the work of Whistler.


Parker, F. and Parker, S. J., Russia on Canvas: Il'ya Repin London 1980; Lyaskovskaya, O. A., Il'ya Yefimovich Repin: Zhizn' i tvorchestvo Moscow, 1982; Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 7/10/03).