Portrait of an old woman (1870) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of an old woman - Ilya Repin - 1870

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of an old woman
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions111 x 87 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationTretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

About Portrait of an old woman

The artwork, titled “Portrait of an Old Woman,” is an oil on canvas painting completed in 1870 by the renowned artist Ilya Repin. This piece, measuring 111 by 87 centimeters, is a fine representation of the Realism art movement and belongs to the genre of portraiture. It currently resides in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, where it contributes to the rich tapestry of Russian cultural history.

The artwork depicts an elderly woman dressed in period attire, including a dark bonnet and a red garment beneath her white collar. She appears seated with her hands clasped together, resting atop a surface that may be interpreted as the arm of a chair. The woman’s face is marked by the lines and contours that tell of her advanced years, suggesting a life replete with experiences. Her physical features have been rendered with a meticulous attention to detail characteristic of Repin’s work, capturing the subtleties of her character and essence.

In the composition, the artist employs a restricted palette, dominated by darker hues that underscore the solemnity of the subject. Nonetheless, strategic touches of light illuminate the woman’s hands, collar, and face, bringing a gentle warmth to the painting and accentuating her dignified presence. The dark background serves to amplify the focus on the figure, allowing the viewer to engage deeply with the subject’s expression, which carries an intangible mixture of resilience, weariness, and introspection. Indeed, through this portrait, Repin contributes not merely an image of an individual but an evocative portrayal of humanity and the passage of time.

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