Repin wrote people turned into cattle, barge haulers pulling barges along the river. Dared to write the Russian tsar, who killed his own son. Reflecting on the history of his country, he portrayed the Cossacks, who “throughout life” remained free. He lovingly and carefully created portraits of the raging Vladimir Stasov, the great Leo Tolstoy and the leader of the Itinerants, Ivan Kramskoy.
More than once Repin returned to two themes that troubled the soul: the church and its disastrous role in Russian society, the image of a man who defiantly challenged it and the autocracy. Continue reading