Reading girl, Repin – overview of the painting

Reading girl, Repin – overview of the painting
Reading girl, Repin - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Ilya Efimovich Repin
  • Museum: State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan
  • Year: 1876

Overview of the painting :

Reading girl – Ilya Efimovich Repin. 1876. Oil on canvas. 74 x 55 cm

   According to some reports, it is believed that the portrait depicts the artist’s sister-in-law. In this canvas, Repin’s ability to convey life as it is, without embellishing or belittling its charms, was fully reflected.

   In the center of the picture is a young girl sitting in a chair in a voluminous black dress with long sleeves. It is decorated with a simple linen white collar and cuffs, there are no more jewelry and details, except for a barely noticeable large button or brooch on the chest. The girl has lush curly long hair of a pleasant golden-redish color. They seem luminous, airy and especially voluminous due to the fact that the light is behind the figure of a seated woman.

   The character of the picture sits in a soft chair with a high rounded back and velvet burgundy upholstery. The background of the picture is neutral, made with wide brush strokes of grayish-olive paint. The dressings are prescribed reliefly, they are highlighted at the back and side, so the whole silhouette of the girl seems very dark and homogeneous, but not flat, but voluminous. This technique makes the face of the depicted especially expressive – it reliefly speaks on the monotonous background of the wall and seems shining from the inside, illuminated by the inner energy and beauty of youth.

   The girl reads a letter from which the torn envelope lies on her lap. This is a large sheet of paper, like throwing light glare on his face. The girl looks at him, with excitement slightly opening her mouth. But the most interesting, as usual, is hidden in the details. It seems like a letter sitting in a chair holds with both hands. In fact, this is not so – she supports the paper only with her right hand, on the other hand, the letter is given to her by the hand of someone outside the picture. This brings a special hidden intrigue to the calm chamber plot of a work of art.