Portrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov (1889) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov - Ilya Repin - 1889

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationTretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

About Portrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov

The artwork titled “Portrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov” was masterfully created by the renowned artist Ilya Repin in the year 1889. This oil on canvas portrait embodies the principles of Realism, a movement dedicated to representing subjects truthfully, without artificiality, and avoiding speculative fiction and supernatural elements. Depicting the art critic Vladimir Stasov, the portrait belongs to the genre of portraiture, a genre that seeks to convey the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person portrayed. The piece is currently housed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, where it remains an accessible treasure of 19th-century Russian art.

In the artwork, Vladimir Stasov is portrayed with striking realism and a rich depiction of character. Stasov is seated on a set of wooden steps in a relaxed, yet dignified pose, leaning slightly against the railing. His attire is distinctive—a vivid red shirt with a traditional cut, emitting a sense of vitality and perhaps a suggestion of his bold personality. The chains and medallion hanging from his waist serve not only as eye-catching details but may also imply a sense of honor or achievement. His long, flowing white beard and contemplative expression suggest wisdom and a life dedicated to thoughtful critique and intellectual pursuits.

The background is painted with a preference for naturalism, featuring dark green foliage that subtly fades into shadows, enhancing the three-dimensionality of the figure and creating a sense of depth. The brushwork appears both precise in terms of the subject’s features and more liberal in the surrounding elements, employing a varied palette to capture the interplay of light and shadow, thus bringing the figure of Stasov to life with a sense of presence and realism. Repin’s technique reflects the broader characteristics of the Realism movement through this authentic and powerful depiction of the human condition and personality.

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