Sadko (1876; Russian Federation) by Ilya Repin

Sadko - Ilya Repin - 1876; Russian Federation

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Artwork Information

ArtistIlya Repin
Date1876; Russian Federation
Dimensions323 x 230 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationRussian Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Sadko

The artwork “Sadko” was created by the Russian artist Ilya Repin in 1876 and is an exemplar of the Realism art movement. Painted using oil on canvas, it measures 323 by 230 centimeters and is categorized as a literary painting. This magnificent work is currently housed in the Russian Museum, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork depicts a scene from the Russian epic legend of Sadko, a novice merchant and gusli musician from Novgorod, who ventured into the undersea kingdom of the Tsar of the Sea. The atmosphere created is one of enchanting underwater opulence, where the viewer’s gaze is drawn to a central figure surrounded by mythical sea creatures and mermaids. The characters are lavishly adorned, as evident in their intricate costumes and jewelry, which shine with a dream-like luminance against the darker backdrop of the seabed.

To the right, the painting presents Sadko himself, standing in profile. He appears contemplatively engaged with the undersea realm, his posture suggesting interaction or negotiation with the mystical inhabitants. The overall color palette is subtly muted yet rich in detail, invoking a sense of depth and mystery. The intricate portrayal of marine life and the attention to the effects of light through water reflect Repin’s masterful technique and dedication to realism, while still imbuing the composition with a fantastical and otherworldly quality.

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