Portrait of a bearded peasant (1879) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of a bearded peasant - Ilya Repin - 1879

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a bearded peasant
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About Portrait of a bearded peasant

The artwork “Portrait of a bearded peasant” by Ilya Repin, created in 1879, exemplifies the Realism art movement. This genre of the piece is portraiture, which seeks to capture the essence and appearance of the subject with lifelike accuracy, a hallmark of the Realist style.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with an evocative study of character and naturalism. The subject is a bearded man, depicted with a profound degree of detail and expressive competence. The beard is rendered with loose yet precise brushstrokes, conveying texture and volume. The subject’s eyes gaze out from the portrait, imbued with a hint of pensiveness or contemplation, suggesting a story or a life lived with depth.

The attire of the peasant is humble yet rendered with care, featuring a shirt that appears soft to the touch, possibly worn by the demands of labor and the passage of time. The overall composition focuses on the torso and face, with hands that seem weathered, hinting at his life as a worker. It is the play of light and shadow across these features that breathes life into the portrait, a technique that Repin mastered to accentuate the realism of his subject.

Repin’s signature and the date, visibly inscribed at the bottom of the portrait, firmly place the work within its historical context. The muted tones and the gentle delineation of the background serve to draw the observer’s attention squarely on the peasant, his visage being the silent narrator of his own story. The artwork thus stands as a testament to the Realist movement’s dedication to portraying the truthful representation of ordinary people and their conditions.

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