Ilya Repin Biography | Oil Paintings

8-5-1844 Chuguyev, UKR - 9-29-1930 Kuokkala, FIN

Repin, Ilya

Ilya Repin as a child had a gift for painting, and a local icon painter gave him some art lessons and employed him to help with the Icon paintings. Repin earned enough money by 1863, at the age of nineteen, to go to St. Petersburg to enter a painting school there, and eventually, the following year he attended the Academy of Fine Arts and met the painter Ivan Kramskoi. To support himself while studying, he worked as a house painter.

In 1870, Ilya Repin went on a trip to the Volga River, and there he made the sketches using the locals who willingly posed for him. Right after his return to St. Petersburg, he began to work on his future masterpiece that would take him three years to complete, Barge Haulers on the Volga.

Ilya Repin visited Paris in between 1874-76 and was disappointed by the works of French Impressionists because he felt it lacked a moral or social purpose. While in Paris, Repin painted Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom and with this oil painting, he became an Academician of the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1882, the Repins moved to St. Petersburg and participated in The Itinerants exhibitions with his historical canvases, the most famous of them painted in 1885 is Ivan the Terrible killing his son, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan.

Ilya Repin often visited the Moscow suburb of Abramtsevo, where well-known art patron Savva Mamontov had organized an art club. There he heard a tale about the Cossacks and the Turkish Sultan. According to the story, in the seventeenth century, the sultan sent a letter to the Cossacks, demanding their submission and their properties. The Cossacks composed a discourteous and derisive, but witty answer. Repin was inspired by this story and decided to let it be known in the painting Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, but between his decision to paint it and its completion in 1891, it took thirteen years.

He produced works slowly and carefully the result of close and detailed study sometimes making over one hundred sketches. Never satisfied with his works, as excellent as they were, he often painted multiple versions, years apart. Ilya Repin was the first Russian artist to achieve European fame using specifically Russian themes. Few Russian artists have gained as much acclaim and recognition as Ilya Repin during their lifetime.

Art MovementRealism.
Artists Influencing Ilya Repin: Eduard Manet, Diego Velázquez.
He Traveled To France, Finland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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