Sermon of Josaphat Kuntsevich in Belarus (1893) by Ilya Repin

Sermon of Josaphat Kuntsevich in Belarus - Ilya Repin - 1893

Artwork Information

TitleSermon of Josaphat Kuntsevich in Belarus
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions29 x 40 cm
Art MovementRealism

About Sermon of Josaphat Kuntsevich in Belarus

The artwork titled “Sermon of Josaphat Kuntsevich in Belarus” is a graphite drawing created by the artist Ilya Repin in 1893. As an oeuvre of Realism, the artwork functions within the genre of history painting and measures 29 x 40 cm. Repin, who is renowned for his mastery in capturing historical scenes and figures with realism and emotive force, imbues the artwork with historical significance and narrative depth.

The artwork depicts a moment of spiritual oration, capturing the figure of Josaphat Kuntsevich as he delivers a sermon to a captivated audience. The central figure, presumably Josaphat himself, is elevated on a platform, commanding the space with a gesture that suggests fervent communication. The solemnity of his stance contrasts with the dynamism of the gathered crowd, which is depicted in varying degrees of engagement, from rapt attention to casual observation.

The realism of the composition is marked by meticulous attention to the figures’ attire and the architectural elements that frame the scene. The attire of the individuals suggests period-specific dress, which helps anchor the scene in a specific historical context. The audience is rendered with skillful and expressive lines that convey the density and movement of the crowd, without compromising the clarity of individual forms.

The background is lightly sketched, indicating an interior space with high ceilings and grand arches—hints of a religious or institutional building conducive to such gatherings. The use of light and shadow is subtle yet effective in adding depth to the scene and emphasizing the central action, creating a focal point around the orator.

Repin’s artwork serves not only as a visual recounting of a historical event but also as a study of human expression and societal interaction. The delicate graphite lines and nuanced shading employed by Repin breathe life into the scene, transforming a moment from the past into a timeless and evocative piece of art.

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