Portrait of Maxim Gorky (1899) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of Maxim Gorky - Ilya Repin - 1899

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Maxim Gorky
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About Portrait of Maxim Gorky

The artwork “Portrait of Maxim Gorky” by Ilya Repin was created in 1899 and is an oil painting on canvas. This portrait is an exemplar of the Realism art movement, which emphasizes the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life without embellishment or interpretation. As a genre, a portrait aims to display the visual appearance and oftentimes the inner essence of the person depicted.

In the artwork, Repin portrays Maxim Gorky with a compelling sense of realism and psychological depth. The subject is seated, facing slightly to the right, engaged in a direct gaze with the viewer, which invites a sense of immediacy and connection. His expression is serious, perhaps reflective, with a hint of a furrowed brow and pensive eyes that suggest a man of contemplation or concern. Gorky’s attire is simple and unostentatious, featuring a dark garment that allows the focus to remain on his facial features and hands.

The painting’s composition is straightforward yet effective, employing a muted palette that emphasizes the naturalistic approach of the Realist movement. The brushwork is visible and dynamic, adding texture and liveliness to the portrayal. The use of light and shadow contributes to the three-dimensionality of the figure and further accentuates the contemplative mood of the portrait. Repin’s skillful rendering successfully captures the essence of Gorky, making the artwork not just a record of his appearance but also a window into his persona.

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