Ilya Repin – Russian painter
Ilya Repin was a Russian painter.
Ilya was born on July 24 (August 5) 1844 in Chuguyev into a family of a military villager. In his youth he worked as an icon painter. He studied in the Drawing School under the direction of I.N. Kramskoy, continued his studies at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. In 1878 Repin became a member of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions, academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts. From the very beginning of his career, from 1870s, Repin became one of the key figures of Russian realism.
The award of a gold medal brought with it the right to travel to France. In May 1873 he set off on a journey round Austria and Italy. In Paris Repin painted etudes, the pictures A Paris Cafe (1875) and A Negress (1875) and also Sadko (1876), based on the Russian epic subject.
In 1876 he joined the Society of Peredvizhniki and in the eighties became its leading artist, the author of historical and genre compositions and a brilliant portraitist.
Repin was the first artist to portray the revolutionary Populists. They can be seen in such works as Under Escort (1876), Arrest of a Propagandist (1880-89), Refusal to Confess (1879-85) and Unexpected Return (1884).
For about twelve years the artist worked on the painting The Zaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880—91).
By the end of the century Repin had gained wide public recognition. A personal exhibition of his works was opened, and after the reform of the Academy of Arts he was made a professor.
In 1872 Ilya Yefimovich married Vera Alexeevna. They were together for 15 years. Vera gave birth to four children. They divorced in 1887. Natalia Nordman became the second wife of the artist. She wrote under the pseudonym Severova. The second marriage ended dramatically. Natalia fell ill with tuberculosis and went to a foreign hospital. She died in June 1914 in Locarno.
The last 30 years of his life the artist spent in Finland. Ilya Repin died on September 29, 1930 in Kuokkala at the age of eighty-six.