On a Turf Bench (1876) by Ilya Repin

On a Turf Bench - Ilya Repin - 1876

Artwork Information

TitleOn a Turf Bench
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions36 x 56 cm
Art MovementRealism

About On a Turf Bench

The artwork titled “On a Turf Bench” was created by the artist Ilya Repin in the year 1876. Crafted with oil on canvas, it measures 36 by 56 centimeters and embodies the Realism art movement, categorized under genre painting. This piece is a quintessential example of Repin’s commitment to depicting the social realities of his time with vivid and narrative-rich detail.

The artwork presents a serene and intimate outdoor scene. A group of individuals, likely of middle to upper class, are gathered on a rudimentary bench made from turf, enjoying the leisure and tranquility of their natural surroundings. The figures are engaged in casual social interaction with one another, highlighted by different postures and expressions that suggest a narrative beyond the stillness of the painted moment.

There is a noticeable contrast within the painting that plays between the informality of the setting and the more formal attire of the subjects, creating a juxtaposition that speaks to a moment of relaxed social norms amidst the natural landscape. Two women and three men occupy the central focus of the bench, exhibiting relaxed demeanour and engaged in conversation or thoughtful repose. On the ground in front, two children can be observed sitting in the grass, adding an element of domestic life and the continuation of daily routines.

The backdrop of the scene is lush and verdant, with trees towering above the group and dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves, casting shadows and illuminating the figures and the landscape intermittently. In the distance, a rural setting is hinted at through soft brushstrokes that create a sense of pastoral calm and spaciousness. The entire composition resonates with the calm of a late afternoon idyll, where nature and society briefly harmonize in a snapshot of 19th-century Russian life.

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