Portrait of the artist R. S. Levitsky (1878) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of the artist R. S. Levitsky - Ilya Repin - 1878

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of the artist R. S. Levitsky
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationAteneum, Helsinki, Finland

About Portrait of the artist R. S. Levitsky

The artwork “Portrait of the artist R. S. Levitsky” by Ilya Repin dates back to 1878 and falls under the Realism art movement. It is a genre painting, specifically a portrait, that currently resides in the Ateneum, Helsinki, Finland. As with the works within the Realism movement, this artwork seeks to portray its subject truthfully and without artificiality, avoiding the stylization characteristic of previous artistic movements.

The artwork presents a compelling depiction of the artist R. S. Levitsky, who is portrayed seated, with his body turned to the side, while his head is facing towards the viewer, creating a sense of an intimate encounter with the sitter. Levitsky is shown with a full beard, focused eyes, and a slight furrow on his brow, all of which contribute to the impression of a thoughtful and perhaps introspective character. The use of chiaroscuro—strong contrasts between light and dark—enhances the three-dimensionality of the figure, adding depth both to his physical form and to the potential complexities of his personality. The background is notably subdued, composed of muted tones that serve to emphasize the figure of Levitsky without distracting from him. The artist’s adept handling of texture is evident in the rendering of the fabrics and the sitter’s flesh, providing a tactile quality to the piece. Overall, Repin’s skillful brushwork and masterful composition result in a lifelike portrayal that captures a moment of quiet dignity and internal reflection.

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