The Self immolation of Gogol (1909) by Ilya Repin

The Self immolation of Gogol - Ilya Repin - 1909

Artwork Information

TitleThe Self immolation of Gogol
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About The Self immolation of Gogol

The artwork entitled “The Self immolation of Gogol,” created by Ilya Repin in 1909, is a significant piece rooted in the Realism art movement. As a portrait, it captures a moment of profound expression and emotion. The artwork, belonging to the genre of portraiture, stands as a stunning example of the kind of lifelike representation characteristic of this period where artists aimed to depict subjects without idealization, focusing on the grit and truth of existence.

This particular painting portrays a dramatic and dark scene. It is consumed by shadow, save for the focal figure, which is vividly illuminated by an unseen source. The figure appears to be in distress, possibly suffering, as suggested by the artwork’s title. The glow of the light emphasizes the agony on the subject’s face and the chaotic energy surrounding the character, effectively evoking a sense of urgency and tragedy.

Two individuals occupy the scene: the central figure, writhing in what seems to be an emotional or physical pain depicted by intense facial expressions and contorted body language, and a secondary, calmer figure, seated quietly in the background. The darkness enveloping the setting provides a stark contrast to the brightness at the core, highlighting the intensity of the moment captured.

Repin’s use of color and contrast in the artwork is notable. Warm hues flicker like flames against the cooler, shadowed surroundings, capturing the essence of the dramatic act indicated by the title. The brushstrokes are visible and vigorous, adding to the tumultuous atmosphere. The details such as the glistening of tears on the face, or the glimmering fabric folds, bring a raw realism to the scene. It is this meticulous attention to detail and the powerful emotional content that define the essence of Repin’s artwork within the Realism movement.

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