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Religious procession in Kursk province

Ilya Efimovich Repin • Painting, 1883, 175×280 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1883
Size: 175×280 cm
Artwork in selections: 73 selections
Exhibitions history
Ilya Repin
October 5, 2021 − January 23, 2022
The Petit Palais, Winston Churchill Avenue

Description of the artwork «Religious procession in Kursk province»

"Religious procession in Kursk province" called an encyclopedia of Russian life. Repin did not fit within the framework of the Chronicles and in the picture this feature is perhaps more pronounced than anywhere else. It seems the whole Russia as it is here walks under the icons. The reason for the painting were very real – Kursk province was famous for its lush sacred processions, and Repin specially came there to do sketches. But it turned out how often he has used much more than planned.

Chukovsky in the memories of the artist called the picture stereoscopic. It seems not even a picture, and the scenes from the movie, and not stopped, the scenes in motion. From the depths of the picture we got discordant the human flow. Characters knocked into the crowd, but if you move the point of focus on each of them, we will find that this crowd mingled, it would seem, in a single mass, composed of very different individualized characters, each of which represents a certain type is Chukovsky called stereo.

A stream of people moving along the hot road, kicking up dust. Ahead we see singers that are decorated with ribbons booth with a gilded dome, it is a lit candle. For choir – commoner, strongly bonded forward, as if in advance to escape from a blow with a whip he managed to get closer to the "miracle." Two of the pilgrim are icons, and then fists, officials, and burghers, and peasants, and the police – a kaleidoscope. In the center of the procession come the upper class. Visible merchants and their children with books, followed the fat red priest in ceremonial robes. He swings a censer, and obviously pleased with what is happening. Behind him drew the attention of a lady, dressed to the nines and with an expression of feigned piety on her face. Beside it is a number of members of the nobility.

"Higher" from "lower" separate mounted constable, to the right, one of them threatened to slash whip someone get too close to the Lord. Left – a crowd of beggars, they are fervently waiting for mercy and a miracle from icons, they "miracle" can't get too close. In the hunched figures of bohomolec (the lower strata, the artist did not idealize too) – dumb obedience, the combination of doom and the naive belief in a miracle. Forward broke the hunchback – the character was very interesting for a painter, there are many sketches of his (1, 2, 3). And his face expressed the flour in the final version remained unstoppable, fervent belief in a miracle, aspiration.

Epic Repin compared with works of Tolstoy – just the two of them were able to Express so fully, vividly and in detail what it called the boring words "folk characters". By the way, Repin and Tolstoy was friendly Repin with his second wife often stayed in Yasnaya Polyana.

The landscape here is also not accidental. The procession moves past the freshly cut stumps, and is also an element of accusatory direction of the picture. Repin recalled: "Exploiters of the region have cut down my favourite forest".

Noteworthy skilful painting – steaming hot road, the bright, cloudless sky, gilded the dome, Riesa priest, motley human sea.

The procession is not a novelty in Russian painting. Previous work Repin remember "Rural religious procession for Easter" Vasily Perov. But until such a comprehensive scale of "Progress" Perov does not hold, it is more specific and less inclusive.

The painting was shown at the 11th mobile exhibition and caused a lot of controversy. Progressive-minded public was delighted, reactionary criticism of the artist reproached that he too was fond of denouncing. Pavel Tretyakov bought the painting, but W artist lamented that on her no good face! Widely known answer Repin: "Look at any crowd and say: how many pleasant faces?"

Author: Alain Esaulova