The Easel

Ilya Repin’s Art and Construction of Russian-ness

Often absent from Western art history books, Repin is a central figure in Russian art. A nineteenth century social realist, his astute portraits of Russian luminaries are acclaimed and his genre paintings of late-Tsarist life even more so. These works have influenced “contemporary Russians’ perception of themselves … [helping to answer] the question of what Russianness means”.