Negress (1876) by Ilya Repin

Negress - Ilya Repin - 1876

Artwork Information

ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions115 x 92 cm
Art MovementOrientalism,Realism

About Negress

The artwork in question is an oil on canvas painting titled “Negress,” created by the celebrated artist Ilya Repin in 1876. Measuring 115 cm by 92 cm, the portrait is noted for its inclusion in the art movements of Orientalism and Realism. This genre piece allows the viewer a glimpse into the cultural and historical contexts of the time.

The painting presents a poignant portrait of a seated woman who is depicted with striking dignity and presence. Her dark skin contrasts with the richly decorated, light-colored garment she wears, which drapes elegantly across her seated form. The woman’s expression is contemplative, evoking a sense of quiet strength and resilience. She is adorned with golden jewelry, including large, circular earrings and a sizeable necklace that draw attention to her face. The careful rendering of textures in her attire and the ornate decorations accentuate the Realist and Orientalist styles, emphasizing the exoticism as perceived at that time by Western artists. In the surroundings, details such as the intricate oriental carpet, the elaborately patterned cushion beside her, and the distinctive objects placed on the tray before her, further establish the Orientalist aesthetic. These elements collectively work to evoke a narrative that goes beyond the canvas, alluding to the broader historical and cultural discourse surrounding ethnicity, identity, and representation within 19th-century art.

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