Portrait of K. P. Pobedonostseva, Repin, 1903

Portrait of K. P. Pobedonostseva, Repin, 1903
Portrait of K. P. Pobedonostseva, Repin, 1903 - 1

  • Posted by Ilya Efimovich Repin
  • Museum: Russian Museum
  • Year: 1903

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev – Ilya Efimovich Repin. 1903. Oil on canvas. 68.5 x 53 cm
   Despite the breadth of his artistic interests, Repin was still primarily a portrait painter. A deep connoisseur of people and a psychologist, he knew how to see in his works the essence of an individual human nature, while revealing in the image he created the features typical of an entire social layer, in the characterization of an individual, allowing you to see the signs of an era.

   Already on the threshold of the 20th century, Repin created a wonderful, one-of-a-kind canvas-granded group portrait of the “State Council Meeting”, written by official government order. The task set for the artist was very difficult. It was necessary to depict on the canvas more than 80 dignitaries who attended the anniversary meeting, while observing the strict order in the location of each of its participants. Repin brilliantly coped with all the difficulties of composing and picturesque decision of the picture, avoiding false pomp. On the contrary, the picture leaves the impression of an unpleasant, acute conviction of the true essence of the ruling elite of pre-revolutionary Russia.

   In the process of working on the painting, Repin wrote etudes portraits of her characters. Filled in a free broad manner, most often in one – two sessions, these etudes are one of the highest achievements in Repin’s work.

   The portrait of the Victory is one of the best of them. Among the high-ranking dignitaries of the victorious autocracy was one of the worst figures. A convinced reactionary, merciless strangler of any sprouts of freedom, he personified all the obscurantism of his time. Outwardly correct, restrained, dryly polite, he was as if deprived of natural human feelings. So he introduced it in his portrait Repin.

   The finest, subtle shades of color, free, as if even careless, but in reality subordinates to a precisely verified pattern with strokes, are imprinted, or rather, dry, alien to the smile of the lips, a cold look of half-hidden eyes for centuries, the whole hypocritical appearance of a person incapable of living emotional movement, devastated and merciless.

   This portrait, written in such an unusual way for Repin, but such a natural way here, is one of the most powerful and artistically perfect works of Repin, completing the period of the artist’s creative prosperity.