Portrait of a young wife, sitting on the couch (1881) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of a young wife, sitting on the couch - Ilya Repin - 1881

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a young wife, sitting on the couch
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions43.5 x 33 cm
Art MovementRealism

About Portrait of a young wife, sitting on the couch

The artwork entitled “Portrait of a young wife, sitting on the couch” is a representation of a female figure, crafted in 1881 by the noted artist Ilya Repin. Executed using pencil on paper, the piece bears the hallmarks of the Realism art movement. The portrait’s dimensions measure 43.5 by 33 centimeters, and it primarily serves as a study of a woman in a domestic setting.

In the artwork, the young wife is depicted with an air of quiet composure and elegance. Her attire suggests modesty and an understated taste. The seated figure is shown in profile, offering a contemplative view of her face and upper body. Repin’s skillful use of pencil creates delicate yet defined lines that capture the subtleties of her expression and the textures of her clothing. The precise strokes define the detail of her hair, the softness around her eyes, and the intricate patterns of her attire, indicating a necklace or a type of lace collar that graces her neckline.

The spontaneity of the pencil strokes imbues the artwork with a sense of immediacy, a snapshot of a moment captured with swift expertise. The contrast between the more meticulously rendered face and the loosely sketched surroundings and garment underscores a focus on the woman’s visage and interiority, which is characteristic of Repin’s ability to evoke personal narrative through portraiture. The various shades of pencil shading contribute to the depth and volume of the figure, and the artist’s mastery in rendering light and shadow is evident even within the monochromatic palette.

As representative of the Realism movement, the portrait eschews idealization in favor of capturing a likeness that feels authentic and relatable, drawing attention to the everyday reality and individual character of its subject. It is a work that, while relatively simple in its composition and medium, resonates with emotional depth and artistic finesse.

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