Ilya Repin – great Russian painter
Ilya Repin was the greatest Russian painter of the nineteenth century. He painted religious allegories, scenes of searing realism, and portraits of the Russian intelligentsia.
Ilya Efimovich Repin was born on August 5, 1844 in the village of Chuguiev, Ukraine. His father was a military settler and retired from the army only in the early 1850s. The mother taught Repin, his older sister, his younger brothers, and some neighborhood children.
In 1855 Repin entered the School of Military Topography in Chuguiev, where he learned drafting and coloring. Two years later he studied with a local icon painter, Ivan Bunakov. Then Repin accepted commissions from various provincial churches to paint icons and other decorative work. He also painted portraits of his relatives.
In 1863 Repin moved to St. Petersburg and a year later he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts. Ivan Kramskoi, the founder of Artel, was his drawing teacher. In May 1865 Repin was awarded the Minor Silver Medal. In November 1865 Repin’s work was displayed for the first time at the Imperial Academy of the Arts’ annual exhibition. In 1869 the artist was awarded the Minor Gold Medal for Job and His Friends.
In 1870 Repin spent three months in the Volga River region. As a result, he painted one of his greatest works, Barge Haulers on the Volga.
In February 1872 Repin married 17-year-old Vera Shevtsova. In the same year he traveled to Vienna, Rome and Naples. He spent nearly three years in Paris, where he met the Russian millionaire art patron Savva Mamontov, Camille Saint-Saens and Emile Zola.
Repin returned to St. Petersburg in July 1876 and in November he was awarded the title of Academician for the painting. Two years later he joined the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions.
In the spring of 1883 Repin made another trip to Western Europe-Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Italy.
Repin and his wife were separated in 1884.
In January 1901 he received the Legion of Honor from France and in 1902 he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences, Literature, and Fine Arts in Prague. In 1904 Repin was elected an honorary member of the Moscow Literary and Artistic Society.
In 1916 the artist published his memoirs, Far and Near.
Ilya Repin died on September 29, 1930 and was buried at the Penaty.