On the embankment by Ilya Repin

On the embankment - Ilya Repin -

Artwork Information

TitleOn the embankment
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About On the embankment

“On the embankment” is a notable work by the artist Ilya Repin, who was a prominent figure of the Realism art movement. This genre painting captures an ordinary moment in life, which is a characteristic trait of Realist artwork, emphasizing the portrayal of everyday subjects with truth and accuracy.

The artwork presents a solitary figure, a woman, standing on an embankment. She is turned away from the viewer, gazing into the distance. The painting is suffused with a sense of contemplation and perhaps melancholy, as the woman seems to be absorbed in thought. She is dressed in a black dress with a full skirt that suggests the fashion of Repin’s time. The woman’s posture and the position of her hands, one holding onto the balustrade, suggest a moment of rest or reflection.

In the foreground, the ornate stone railing and a decorative vase atop the embankment wall are depicted with quick, bold brushstrokes, indicating the artist’s focus on capturing the essence of the scene rather than meticulous detail. The touches of red and blue on the wall break the monotony of the neutral tones, drawing the viewer’s attention to the architecture as well as to the figure. The background offers little detail, encouraging the observer to focus on the woman and the immediate surroundings. The handling of light and color is subdued, typical of the Realist style, which aims to depict scenes without embellishment or idealization.

In sum, Repin’s “On the embankment” exemplifies Realism through its genre painting approach, offering a snapshot of everyday life that resonates with genuine human emotion and experience.

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