Study of an Old-Man (1878) by Ilya Repin

Study of an Old-Man - Ilya Repin - 1878

Artwork Information

TitleStudy of an Old-Man
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions88 x 68 cm
Art MovementRealism

About Study of an Old-Man

The artwork titled “Study of an Old Man” was created by the esteemed artist Ilya Repin in the year 1878. It is an oil painting on canvas, adhering to the Realism art movement and measures 88 by 68 centimeters. This piece is categorized as a portrait and is indicative of Repin’s commitment to realistic representation.

The artwork portrays an elderly man with a long, flowing white beard and thoughtful eyes that hint at a depth of experience and wisdom. The man’s gaze is directed slightly upwards, not confronting the viewer directly, which adds a contemplative nature to the portrait. His attire is simple, with nondescript clothing that suggests a humble status or the timeless general nature of the subject rather than specific social commentary.

The overall execution of the portrait is marked by a subdued color palette, primarily consisting of earthy tones that blend into the dark background. The technique employed by Repin results in a lifelike representation of the man, capturing the texture of his hair and beard with remarkable detail and nuance. The play of light and shadow on his features emphasizes the volume of the face and adds to the three-dimensionality of the work.

The tonal contrast draws attention to the man’s visage, particularly his intense, almost piercing eyes that engage the viewer. The subdued hues and the focus on the aging features of the subject encapsulate the Realism art movement’s emphasis on depicting subjects truthfully, without idealization, reflecting Repin’s skill in rendering human emotion and character with authenticity.

“Study of an Old Man” stands as a testament to Repin’s mastery in portraiture, reflecting not just the physical likeness of the subject, but also suggesting an emotional and psychological depth in keeping with the principles of Realism. The portrait embodies the essence of the subject’s individuality while also providing a universal commentary on human aging and dignity.

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