A Peasant with an Evil Eye (1877) by Ilya Repin

A Peasant with an Evil Eye - Ilya Repin - 1877

Artwork Information

TitleA Peasant with an Evil Eye
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About A Peasant with an Evil Eye

The artwork titled “A Peasant with an Evil Eye” was created by the esteemed artist Ilya Repin in the year 1877. The medium of this piece is oil on canvas, and it is an exemplar of the Realism art movement. This portrait embodies the spirit of the era in which it was produced, focusing on the truthful and natural representation of its subject.

In the artwork, we observe a portrait of an elderly peasant man, exuding a sense of raw, lived experience. His gaze is intense and somewhat unsettling, which aligns with the work’s title suggesting the possession of an ‘evil eye.’ The subject’s face is weathered, with creases and lines that speak to years of hardship and toil. Notably, his piercing eyes are the focal point, ensnared in a direct and powerful stare that commands the viewer’s attention.

An unruly gray beard and unkempt hair frame the man’s visage, while his attire appears to be that of a commoner, hinting at practicality rather than finery—a dark, simple garment with noticeable patches and wear. The background is nondescript, a wash of warm tones that serve to thrust the figure to the fore, ensuring that the peasant’s expression and countenance hold the entirety of our focus. Repin’s deft portrayal aligns with the Realism movement’s dedication to depicting subjects without idealization, showing life as it is rather than how it might be imagined to be.

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