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Ilya Repin, Painter

“Unexpected Visitors”—The Protypical View of 19th Century Russian Family Life

“Unexpected Visitors” (1883)—The Protypical View of 19th Century Russian Family Life

The only Russian painters that most of us in the Western World are able to name were likely expatriates, men such as Marc Chagall and Wassily Kandinsky. As for myself, I have a particular liking for the works of Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844-1930), a Russian realist whose work was exhibited worldwide, but who lived and died in Russia. He was a supporter of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was, in turn, honored by the Communist leadership.

Among his most famous paintings are “Barge Haulers on the Volga” (1873);  “Unexpected Visitors,” shown above; “Religious Procession in Kursk Province” (1883), shown below; and “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks” (1880-91).

“Religious Procession in Kursk Province”

“Religious Procession in Kursk Province”

The above painting strongly reminds me of the fiction of Nikolai Leskov, one of my favorite (and least well-known) Russian writers.