Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland Topic: Russian Art
Double portrait of Natalia Noordman and Ilya Repin (1903)
The exhibition Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland has opened at the recently renovated Kadriorg Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia. The exhibition, which was organised in collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum of the Finnish National Gallery, introduces the distinguished artist Ilya Repin's paintings from his Finnish period, which have received less attention.
"Ilya Repin's work is well-known among the Estonian public. However, it has been predominantly viewed through the prism of the Soviet Union's art policy, which was limited to the social and socially critical portion of the artist's work," Linda Lainvoo, one of the exhibition curators, said. "However, this exhibition focuses on the artist's more intimate paintings and helps us understand the background of Repin's craftsmanship. The artist, who was known for cultivating a realistic style of portrayal and socially critical subjects, is revealed at this exhibition as a sensitive portraitist and passionate drawer."
Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland is based on the Repin collection at the Ateneum Art Museum, and is directly connected to the artist's home "Penates" in Karelia, as well as to Finnish history. The works have arrived at the museum as gifts, donations and purchases by the government. Through drawings that were completed at various period of his life, the exhibition also illustrates Repin's lifelong dedication to improving his art.
Ilya Repin (1844–1930) is one of the Russian artists whose work is renowned around the world. He is known primarily as a great realist, and his works, which often contain a socially critical subtext, provide a reflection of the daily lives of simple people and peasants.
The artist settled in Kuokkala, Karelia (today Repino, in the Russian Federation) in the early 20th century. Together with his life partner Natalia Nordmann (1863–1914), who was active in photography and literature, he established his home there, which soon became an active centre of cultural life. After Finland became independent, Repin became increasingly involved with the Finnish art scene and art community. In the 1920s, the artist, who was quite elderly, appeared at exhibitions in Russia and Finland. Despite many invitations from the Soviet Union, Repin did not leave Finland, remaining there until his death in 1930.