Shiryaev gully on the Volga (1870) by Ilya Repin

Shiryaev gully on the Volga - Ilya Repin - 1870

Artwork Information

TitleShiryaev gully on the Volga
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About Shiryaev gully on the Volga

The artwork titled “Shiryaev gully on the Volga” is an exquisite exemplar of 19th-century Realism. Crafted by the illustrious artist Ilya Repin in 1870, this piece is categorically a landscape, which captures the quintessence of the natural vista it depicts. The movement under which it falls, Realism, is known for its dedication to the accurate and unembellished portrayal of everyday life, eschewing the grandiose romanticism that preceded it.

The artwork presents a meticulous depiction of the Shiryaev Gully, located along the banks of the Volga River. In this landscape, the gully rises as a prominent geological feature, its rugged slopes creating a textured backdrop that dominates the composition. Its form is one of gentle undulation, yet it possesses a commanding presence within the scope of the drawing. Repin’s use of fine lines and careful shading demonstrates an attention to detail that illustrates both the grandeur and the subtlety of the scene.

Foregrounding the scene, the shores of the Volga River stretch out with remarkable spaciousness, dotted with various elements that add to the scene’s verisimilitude. Figures both human and possibly animal can be discerned near the waterline and within the gully’s environs, indicating the presence and activity of life amidst the stillness of nature. Ships and boats, rendered in simple yet deliberate strokes, sit moored or afloat on the water, further emphasizing the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

The distant horizon, where the sky meets the water, is faint yet perceptible, dividing the landscape and granting depth to the composition. Repin’s treatment of the different textures—between the rocky terrain of the gully, the smooth expanse of the water, and the delicate sky—demonstrates his mastery in capturing the essence of the landscape, a hallmark of the Realist movement’s objectives.

In summation, “Shiryaev gully on the Volga” by Ilya Repin is a masterful Realist work that faithfully represents a moment in time within the Russian landscape, encapsulating the raw and unadorned beauty of the Volga’s environs as perceived in 1870.

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