Refusal of the Confession (1879 – 1885) by Ilya Repin

Refusal of the Confession - Ilya Repin - 1879 - 1885

Artwork Information

TitleRefusal of the Confession
ArtistIlya Repin
Date1879 - 1885
Dimensions48 x 58 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationTretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

About Refusal of the Confession

The artwork titled “Refusal of the Confession” was created by the artist Ilya Repin between 1879 and 1885. It is an oil painting on canvas that showcases the Realism art movement. The dimensions of this genre painting are 48 x 58 centimeters. It is currently housed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia.

In the artwork, we observe a compelling and somber scene. Two figures are present, prominently positioned within a seemingly dimly lit interior. The central subject, a man, appears weary and somewhat defiant, with an expression that conveys a complex mix of emotions. His gaze, directed away from his companion, suggests a profound internal struggle or a sense of resignation. The man’s body language, with crossed arms and a slightly hunched posture, supports the painting’s title; he seems to be refusing something.

Opposite him stands another figure, most likely a priest or a religious figure, given the traditional attire, which includes a cassock and a distinctively shaped hat. This second figure is holding an object that resembles a crucifix or a religious icon, implying that he is urging the seated man to participate in a religious sacrament or confession, which aligns with the painting’s theme.

The environment around them is rendered with deep, dark tones, possibly reflecting the gravity of the situation and the psychological intensity between the two figures. Repin’s Realist approach is evident in the meticulous attention given to the facial expressions, the postures, and the atmospheric quality of the painting, all of which contribute to the evocation of a palpable emotional tension. The painting reveals a narrative that seems to hinge on the central figure’s resistance, allowing viewers to sense the weight of the moment captured by Repin’s masterful brushwork.

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