Did not expect

Ilya Efimovich Repin • Painting, 1888, 160.5×167.5 cm
Digital copy: 1.0 MB
2740 × 2630 px • JPEG
36.8 × 35.3 cm • 189 dpi
46.4 × 44.5 cm • 150 dpi
23.2 × 22.3 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1888
Size: 160.5×167.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 106 selections
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Description of the artwork «Did not expect»

Repin's Painting "Unexpected" represents the sudden return of the exiled revolutionary. Posed for pictures Repin wife Vera Shevtsova, their daughter, mother-in-law, friends of the house. The exiled written by Vsevolod Garshin (1, 2).

It is noteworthy that the situation Repin is initially determined, and a room in sketches is almost constant, but the characters in the work process has undergone significant disturbances. Especially for a long time, the artist struggled with the way back, painfully selecting the desired tone. In the Tretyakov gallery kept the sketch on which "unexpected" girl. This is probably a student, came for political activities in exile. The mood of this option – the joy of return, the joy of meeting and even a sense of surprise, almost a new year gift. Quite different was the final version.

Repin's painting "the unexpected" 1884 (the artist will rework it until 1888 the first) shows us the man returned. Surprise, shock, which will soon be replaced by joy – there. The feeling of surprise is not in sight. Initially, the author assumed to show the unbroken hero, a freedom fighter. But the final – on the other. There are strong motifs of the prodigal son and the resurrection. Hero hard and painful looks into the faces of his family: whether they will accept it? I can not stand and your conviction? The newcomer's face mostly in shadows, but alert eyes look huge we see. They question and attempt to justify them in the dilemma between the dictates of conscience, which he followed, and the fact that he left the family. Do it here? How will meet him?

Consider the setting: a bare wooden floor, modest Wallpaper, everything is very clean and quite poor – there is clearly no extra funds. On the wall - photographic portraits Shevchenko and Nekrasov reproduction the paintings of Charles Staben dedicated to the Passion of Christ, and was slain by the people, Alexander II (portrait by Konstantin Makovsky). Portraits leave no doubt that the reference had a political subtext. And the biblical allusions make it clear that the return of the hero, endured a lot of pain, like the resurrection from the dead.

Repin skill is fully reflected in the timing of the peak, very sharp: son, husband, father came back and already walked into the room, frightened let his maid and even some of the maids stand at the door and see how things will develop. But his family is aware of the return of a dear person it is this very second. Old mother and wife of a revolutionary in black mourning clothes. Mother stood up from the chair, stretches out ahead of the feeble hand, we do not see her eyes, but I guess that they hope, fear, joy and, most likely, tears. She looks intently at the man who entered the clothes of a convict, and now finally recognizes him as a son.

Wife sitting at a piano, started up, froze, ready the next moment to jump in and jump on the neck of the newcomer. Her eyes widened, timid joy breaks through distrust and fear, hand convulsively squeezes the arm rest. The girl was probably quite young when his father was exiled, she does not recognize it, stooped down and looking wary, she excited her strange tension caused by the appearance of this strange man. But the older boy, he, on the contrary, all stretched out in the direction of his father, opened his mouth, his eyes Shine and, probably, in the next moment he is gleefully squeal. In the next instant, all tears mixed with laughter, hugs. And now, the moment preceding it, and with incredible skill reflected the aspirations, fears and hopes. Brush Repin withdrew originating from a domestic context and given a monumental, human factor – it's not about specific returned silnom, talking about faith, love, fear, conscience, and hope.

For the first time the painting was shown at the XII traveling exhibition. Indifferent it is few people left, opinions were divided into two opposing camps. A close friend of Repin, the critic Vladimir Stasov said it "the largest and most important and perfect his creation". And the reaction of the critic, not satisfied with the story, tore the picture in pieces, stinging beating the name. In the "Moscow Gazette", a review, ending with the words "pathetic a genius, the purchased price of the art error by podygryvanii to the curiosity of the public, through the "slave's language". This is worse than a crime, it's a mistake... wasn't expecting! What is false...".

Claim to the painting was even Pavel Tretyakov that did not prevent him to buy a painting in your collection (read more here).

Author: Alain Esaulova