Ilya Repin

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Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844–1930) was a Russian painter, born in what is now known as Ukraine. During the 19th century, he became one of the most renowned artists in russia.

His major works include:

  • Barge Haulers on the Volga (1873),
  • Religious Procession in Kursk Province (1880–1883), Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan (1885);
  • Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks (1880–1891).

He is also known for the revealing portraits he made of the leading literary and artistic figures of his time, including Mikhail Glinka, Modest Mussorgsky, Pavel Tretyakov and especially Leo Tolstoy, with whom he had a long friendship.

Repin was born in Chuguyev, in Kharkov Governorate of the Russian Empire. His father had served in an Uhlan Regiment in the Russian army, and then sold horses. Repin began painting icons at age 16. He failed at his first effort to enter the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, but went to the city anyway, audited courses, and won his first prizes in 1869 and 1871. In 1872, after a tour along the Volga River, he presented his drawings at the Academy of Art in St. Petersburg. The Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich awarded him a commission for a large scale painting, The Barge Haulers of the Volga, which launched his career. He spent two years in Paris and Normandy, seeing the first Impressionist expositions and learning the techniques of painting in the open air.