“I love variety...” ILYA REPIN’S INDEFATIGABLE NOVELTY ACROSS TIME AND GENRE
Marking the 175th anniversary of the birth of Ilya Repin (1844-1930), the Tretyakov Gallery is staging a major exhibition of the artist’s works on Krymsky Val. Running until August 2019, it brings together more than 170 paintings and 130 drawings from 27 Russian and foreign museums as well as a number of private collections, featuring both works for which Repin has always been famous and pieces that will be new to the general viewer, including some never shown at the Tretyakov before. Presented chronologically, it follows the evolution of the artist’s career from his academic period through to his final compositions of the 1920s. It gives particular prominence to Repin’s large-scale paintings “dedicated to Russia” - to the fate and fortunes of its prominent individuals, to the Russian people as an entity, and to the nation itself - that cover the period from the aftermath of the 1860s reforms through to the revolutions of the 20th century.
Ilya Repin remains one of the most highly esteemed painters in Russian art, his name representative of Russian realist art in general and of the “Peredvizhniki" (Wanderers) in particular. In addition, Repin is one of the few Russian artists to have left a mark on Western European art of the 19th century. His career spanned many decades, and he never ceased to surprise his contemporaries with his new approaches to painting and unexpected treatment of traditional motifs and forms of expression. He is universally considered the leading artist of his era, a master whose work not only determined various of the directions that Russian art would subsequently take, but also shaped a particular artistic tradition. Repin's works, both as a painter and graphic artist, continue to be something of a benchmark for 19th century Russian art, the ultimate expression of everything that is unique and emblematic about it.
His artistic temperament was indefatigable, and his vast body of work covers a remarkable variety of themes, motifs and human subjects. Repin's works can hardly be termed elegant or charming, however: unconcerned with refinement of form, his style is not pretty, and certainly not genteel. Nevertheless, it is definitely vivid, expressive and powerful; if beauty is a very personal concept for each artist, “Repin's beauty," as Kornei Chukovsky wrote, “always rejects prettiness."
Scholars usually divide Repin's oeuvre into two unequal parts. The first, usually termed his “classical" or “mature" period, covers the years from 1877 to 1903; it dates from the artist's return to Russia from his travels abroad on the study grant that he received from the Academy of Arts, and ended with his brilliant studies for his “Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council on May 7, 1901 (1903, Russian Museum: the painting commemorated the centenary of the Council). The second, from 1903 through to Repin's death in 1930, was marked by his move to Kuokkala (now Repino) in what became Finland and is known as his “Penaty period": Repin named the estate that he designed and built for himself in the small settlement on the Gulf of Finland “Penaty" (an allusion to the Roman household deities, the Penates).
Igor Grabar, the artist's student who later became one of the main authorities on Repin's life and work, called this second period of the artist's life “a time of creative decline". However, over the last three decades or so a significant number of scholars have begun to challenge this established assessment of Repin's later career. Research on Repin's work continues, and several of his works from the 1920s, such as “The Hopak Dance (The Zaporozhye Cossacks Dancing)" (1926-1930, private collection), and “Religious Procession in the Oak Grove. Appearance of the Icon" (1877-1930, Gallery of Modern Art, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) are shown at the Tretyakov Gallery for the first time. (In addition to the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum, the “Ilya Repin" exhibition draws on museum collections from Moscow and St. Petersburg, Saratov, Perm and Nizhny Novgorod, as well as the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki; the National Gallery, Prague; and the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk.)
Repin certainly enjoyed a long and successful career as an artist; from his early years through to his old age, he always called himself “a lucky man", never ceasing to thank his Maker for his good fortune to live and paint as he did. A young man during the historical reforms of the 1860s, he turned 70 in the month that Russia declared war on Germany in 1914, and experienced “the cursed days" of two revolutions; he outlived most of his friends and fellow artists, and died at the age of 86 in Penaty. Repin never intentionally left Russia, but instead found himself in 1918 living in Finland, following that nation's declaration of independence from the new Soviet state. Finding himself in immigration by such an accident of fate, Repin continued to feel himself Russian and never lost his strong interest in the country, deeply concerned about political developments there under the Bolshevik regime. He was a contemporary not only of Vasily Perov, Alexei Savrasov and Arkhip Kuindzhi, but also Kazimir Malevich and David Burliuk, Matisse, Picasso and Duchamp; not just writers like Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Tolstoy, but Ivan Bunin, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Maxim Gorky, too.
Even late in his life, work remained central for Repin, and he strived to stay in touch with the times and develop new painterly techniques. “I remain my old self, entirely dedicated to certain ideas and forever looking for the vast depths of art's everlasting delights," he wrote in 1924 to the painter and collector Ilya Ostroukhov. Repin never especially admired what he had accomplished - rather, he remained in a state of never-ending “creative searching", often doubting himself and struggling with an agonizing sense of dissatisfaction. In the late 1920s Repin continued to reproach himself “for the gunpowder of his self-destruction"; even in his eighties he admitted that he would still struggle with the idea for a painting, but having achieved what he was looking for, he felt a tranquility (“And that is a blessing from the Holy Spirit").
Repin's work can arguably be divided into three thematic groups, which when taken together reveal a deep and complex, but nonetheless seamless image of Russia. The first is devoted to the people of Russia, its crowds and processions, whether religious or revolutionary. The second element focuses on the individual, on the challenges, pursuits, losses and discoveries of human life, including the choice of a direction and purpose in life - in short, the meaning of an individual's existence. The third section of Repin's oeuvre comprises his masterful portraits, a gallery of faces that truly represent the times through which the artist lived. Such a categorization rather ignores Repin's landscape paintings and still-lifes: however, they served more as a painterly exercise and are not, in fact, essential to any quest to fully understand the main directions of his art. The Tretyakov exhibition shows practically none of his idyllic landscapes, the exception being those early works that Repin painted during his time in France when he was on his Academy stipend.
The curators of the Tretyakov show faced another challenge, too: Repin's work has always been known and loved by the public, with six major exhibitions held during the 20th century alone at the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum (1924-25, 1936-37, 1944, 1957-58, 1969, 1994-95). For many decades his works were associated with the essential tenets of Russian realist art - most importantly, with concepts of the national spirit and identity, and an egalitarian, democratist worldview; in the period from the 1930s to the 1950s Repin's oeuvre became almost a role model and ideological foundation for Soviet realist art. It was at this time that his heritage became closely linked to official ideology and associated with the “Soviet way of life". Purveyors of “Leninist aesthetics" shamelessly exploited Repin's work for their own purposes, constantly praising it for being accessible and easy to understand, and for its “truth to life". Over time, such a false narrative backfired, which saw Repin's art categorically rejected during Khrushchev's “Thaw", the period of liberalization in Soviet history that followed the death of Stalin in 1953, and over subsequent decades. In the late Soviet period the country's intelligentsia considered it “good form to sarcastically degrade his most iconic works", as the critic Alexander Morozov has observed: “Such was the inevitable retribution for the exploitation of Repin's name for propaganda purposes [in earlier times]."
In the 1970s, however, attitudes towards the legacy of realism began to change, and Repin was among the first whose art would be re-examined. Distinguished art historians and critics like Dmitry Sarabyanov, Grigory Sternin and Gleb Pospelov began to explore Repin's work through an existentialist lens, relating them to fundamental issues of being, and finding connections with associated philosophical, religious and ethical questions. Nevertheless, elements of that established earlier dismissal of Repin's legacy remain, and some still look down on his art, viewing it as didactic, deliberate and altogether flawed. However, the simplicity of his works is deceptive...
The Tretyakov Gallery's 2019 exhibition is another attempt to interpret the heritage of an artist who was open to the spiritual pursuits of the society that surrounded him and confronted the same issues as the greatest masters of 19th century Russian culture, figures such as Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The show endeavours to encourage the public to broaden its approach to Repin's art, to reveal fresh aspects and new horizons of his oeuvre, thus changing the way in which his paintings and portraits are perceived. Today, we understand the art of past centuries differently. The contemporary viewer sees more in Repin's paintings than any mere reflection of the artist's time; his works echo those of the Old European masters and point to new ways to interpret reality by bringing it to a new level of comprehension.
The artist's keen interest in life manifested itself in the wide variety of themes and motifs, human images and painterly styles with which he engaged: his diverse body of work includes paintings, drawings, book illustrations and sculpture. A prime goal of the Tretyakov exhibition is to show how generous and multi-faceted Repin's artistic gifts really were.
Art critics became interested in Repin from the very beginning of his career: from the moment he showed his first significant paintings, such as “Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (1871) and “Barge Haulers on the Volga" (1870-1873, both at the Russian Museum), his work was the subject of discussion and study. The first monographs on his art were published during his lifetime, and scholars have continued to engage with his work, carefully and judiciously, throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries. As they reached new conceptions about and ways of looking at Repin's art, as newly available materials were published and discoveries made about works whose existence had previously only been known from written sources, scholars have always agreed on one thing - that Repin's oeuvre is inexhaustible.
However, from the time of his contemporaries onwards, opinions about Repin's art have always been contradictory: while some appreciated his work, praising it and embracing his success, others were openly critical. “It's a bad position to be in when one is judged so harshly, and expectations are so high - in short, it's trouble," Repin acknowledged early in his career, writing to the critic Vladimir Stasov in the mid-1870s. But he could also be more confident, affirming in another letter from the same period: “I am not afraid of anyone's condemnation, not even whistles or mocking; the only thing that matters is work." The artist was used to the disapproval of the crowd; even back in the early 1870s he knew better than to expect praise from anyone, writing: “Public opinion... is shaped slowly and gradually. and it is only after about 50 years that a work of art receives its final judgment."
As each of his new major works appeared, the critics would turn on him, as sometimes did those sympathetic to the artist, too; thus, they did not appreciate “Tsarevna Sofia Alexeievna at the Novodevichy Convent", which horrified viewers; they were cautious about “They Did Not Expect Him" for its political undertones, and condemned “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks" and “Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council on May 7, 1901". “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" received a flurry of negative reviews, with clear instances of misjudgment and consequent accusations; for some time after its first display, the government censors forbade Repin from exhibiting it. Repin's reaction to such innumerable denunciations was calm: “I have no regrets, nor do I wish to change anything or please anyone. Every time I show a new painting I hear so many conflicting opinions, disapprovals, concerns, regrets and advice. I am so lucky that I have such passion for my work. When an idea takes hold of me, it plagues my mind, does not let me rest, it beckons and captivates me, and nothing, no-one matters then."
The first two decades of the 20th century were especially harsh on Repin - this was the time when the “Peredvizhniki" (Wanderers), that iconic grouping in Russian art of which Repin was a central figure, began to lose their lofty status in the eyes of the public. For the younger generation, Repin personified the realist art of that movement, even though he always sought to be part of a quest for new artistic directions and techniques - like many of his contemporaries, Repin tried to challenge accepted aesthetic ideals and canons. In his “History of Russian Painting in the 19th Century" (1901-1902), Alexandre Benois called Repin, “a sad victim of the misunderstanding that was prevalent in the Russian art of the late 19th century"; Benois noted that Repin chose his subjects randomly and sporadically, and proclaimed his talent one that grew “sideways". The esteemed art critic was referring to Repin's lack of direction, an issue alluded to by many of the artist's contemporaries, as well as later scholars. “Too often he changes his point of view," Benois lamented. Such opinions of Repin's work crystallized in the 1910s and continued to circulate over the decade that followed. Thus, the artist and art historian Nikolai Radlov wrote at the beginning of the 1920s about Repin's innate, purely artistic intuition, surmising that it supposedly outmatched his intellect. Many others, including Vasily Rozanov and Sergei Durilin, described Repin's personality as mercurial, insincere and false.
In contrast, however, between 1907 and 1913 Kornei Chukovsky, then at the very beginning his career, wrote a series of articles in support of Repin. (Chukovsky, who went on to become a celebrated children's poet and literary critic, was a neighbour of the artist in Kuokkala, and the two men became good friends.) Chukovsky perfectly described Repin's art as the discovery of “an awkward Russian beauty", an element that comprised, in the young writer's opinion, the essential national aspect of his paintings. Chukovsky described Repin's work as a “brilliant insight into humanity" from an artist whose “goal seems to catch just those expressions that appear on our faces only once in a lifetime." Chukovsky called Repin “a Titan of an artist", boldly declaring that “to dismiss Repin is to dismiss Russia." He came up with a succinct description of Repin's art that still rings true today - “emotional tempests, whirlwinds, huge crowds, indomitable passions".
In the environment of ideological censorship that characterized the Soviet era, art historians associated Repin's work with the people's movement towards liberation; sometimes accused of “misunderstanding the historical moment", his work was reduced to a narrow spectrum of social ideas. In recent years, however, scholars have been re-evaluating their understanding of Repin's oeuvre, expanding it particularly through consideration of his many works to be found in collections outside Russia.
Today we see Repin as one of the major Russian artists of the 19th century - perhaps even the most important of all - and his work as an “encyclopaedia of Russian life" that shows us the different faces of Russia: the country's peasants and aristocrats, its working classes and royalty, its revolutionaries and artists. The complicated relationship between the educated elites and the people, which remained an important issue in the social and cultural life of the country, was at the core of Repin's art. By the 1920s, when he was no longer resident in Russia as such, the focus of his creativity began to shift towards religious themes and Gospel motifs.
Essentially Repin's work was always inspired by the turbulent period through which he lived, his evolution as an artist inseparable from the social and historical changes taking place around him. At different times, Repin was both criticized and praised for his constant dependence on the social and political mood of the country but, while sensitive to the unique atmosphere of his era, he never oversimplified it in his art. Repin always worked on a variety of subjects and ideas, something that repeatedly led to accusations of “inconstancy" and opportunism. In part, that was Repin's own fault, because he agreed with his critics' rebukes when they said that his works had “no continuity, no clear goal; everything is accidental and naturally, superficial" - such were the words with which Repin, in the letter to Mikhail Fedorov, paraphrased one particular review. His conclusion was clear, however: “I love variety."
Many questions need to be answered. Were the subjects of Repin's paintings from the 1880s, from his “classical period", really unintentional? Can the artist's choices really be explained by simple coincidence and random chance, as some critics have suggested? Was there really no inner logic to his work, no desire to grasp the grave and imperative issues that faced both art and society?
In the 1880s Repin was working simultaneously on several large-scale paintings, all of which were to be found in his studio; in his own words, he felt a “natural inclination" to work on two of them. The first was “They Did Not Expect Him" (1884-1888, Tretyakov Gallery), the one dedicated to the legacy of the “Narodnik" movement, which depicted the unexpected return of an exile to his family after many long years of penal servitude; the second, his historical painting “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" (1885, Tretyakov Gallery), was inspired by events of Repin's own time, another “bloody age" in Russian history. Repin was working at the same time on two further paintings, a large-scale commission from the Ministry of the Imperial Court, “Emperor Alexander III Receives Village Elders in the Courtyard of the Petrovsky Palace in Moscow" (1886, Tretyakov Gallery), and “St. Nicholas of Myra Saving Three Innocents from Death" (1888, Russian Museum), commissioned by the Nikolskaya Pustyn Convent in Strelechye, near Kharkov.
These four paintings were all conceived in the early 1880s; it is likely that Repin began working on the concept of “They Did Not Expect Him" at the very beginning of the decade, while he first mentioned the idea of “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" in early 1882. Repin received the commission to paint the massive painting of Alexander III in 1884, and probably created his first study for the convent in the same year. Examination of the subjects of these paintings is revealing: the first was social commentary, the second involved historical allusions to Repin's own time, the third an imposing official composition, and the fourth a scene from the life of a saint. On the face of it, they have nothing in common - which was exactly what Repin's contemporaries thought. Repin even himself paraphrased one piece of criticism that had been addressed to him in “Khudozhestvenny zhurnal" (Art Magazine), writing calmly in the same May 1886 letter to Fedorov: “Today he [Repin] paints a scene from the Gospels, tomorrow he chooses to take up a popular folk motif, then a fantastical folk epic, a genre scene of foreign life, an ethnographic study, and finally, a biased newspaper story, a psychological etude, a liberal melodrama, and all of a sudden, a bloody scene from Russian history... What can you do, the judges may be right, but I cannot change who I am."
At the same time, if we disregard such differing narrative lines, it is clear that Repin is engaging with various versions of the classic story, that of the “Appearance": the appearance of the exile to his family, where he was not expected “so soon", and the appearance of Alexander III to his people as their new Tsar. In the first version of “They Did Not Expect Him", the returning exile looked brave and resolute, but after all the changes that Repin made to the painting, his final 1888 version showed the face of someone assailed by doubt, a broken man with an uncertain gait and a question in his eyes: can he hope for his mother's understanding and forgiveness? There is a hidden message for the viewer on the far wall behind the dark figure of the exile, in the form of the lithograph of Charles de Steuben's painting “Calvary" (Tretyakov Gallery), that equates Christ's Road to Calvary and the convict's hard journey home.
By contrast, the appearance of Alexander the Peacemaker to his people takes place on a bright sunny day, his powerful figure towering above the crowd. The Tsar is shown talking to the peasant elders; calm, imposing and dignified, he is the embodiment of the Russian state and the continuity of its traditions. Repin fondly called this work “my royal painting" and described it as “the Tsar and the people against the backdrop of noble courtiers". Here the artist used familiar iconography to express the most important idea for the newly crowned Russian Tsar, that of the unity of his people. The painting gained immediate status as a historical painting, commemorating as it did one of the 14 days of the Emperor's formal coronation festivities. As for “They Did Not Expect Him", Repin continued to work on it for four more years after it was first exhibited. He admitted how hard the work came to him, a factor due at least in part to the change in the attitudes of the Russian public towards the narodniks. After he had finally finished the painting, Repin expressed his satisfaction in a letter to Pavel Tretyakov at the end of August 1888: “I think I have finally got him right. the painting rings true."
The familiar iconography of the “Appearance", a popular motif in art, helped Repin to create two entirely different images. He used it to show both the return of someone who'd been to hell and back and was now looking for acceptance in his family, and another man, the jubilant Emperor standing alone before his people, compositionally separated from them. Repin's allusions to earlier works of art were clear to his thoughtful contemporaries. Thus, the critic Vladimir Stasov wrote to the artist: “Ivanov's Christ... [a reference to “The Appearance of Christ to the People" by Alexander Ivanov - T.Y.] still has his fateful journey in front of him, and the one in ‘They Did Not Expect Him' has already made it. Their reasons and motives are exactly the same." Others saw this painting as a reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, an element which clearly reflected the changing attitudes of society.
Following this argument further, the themes of unintentional killing, profound regret and full realization of a tragic crime committed that unfold in Repin's “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" are in turn followed by a story of deliverance, the escape from death and gift of life in his “St. Nicholas of Myra".
The composition of “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" echoes classic images of the Pieta (“pity", in Italian), usually comprising two figures, with the Virgin Mary, full of quiet grief and enveloping sadness, holding the body of the dead Christ. Repin did not simply create his own version of the composition, but changed it into something drastically different, reversing the emphasis and shifting the centre of gravity to where he needed it to be. The artist transformed the traditional Pieta by creating the image of a “dishevelled and pathetic", howling killer at the moment when he realizes the finality of his crime. Mourning is certainly among the emotions present in the painting, but it is not the dominant one. Instead, Repin was moved by what Tolstoy described as the “true beauty of the dying" young man, his forgiveness and his murderous father's remorse; but nevertheless, the artist does not spare us the frantic angularity of the father's face, distorted by suffering, tears and screams; the madness of the wailing despot, and the vivid drama of this tragic scene. The tropes of Russian history have been turned upside down: the father has become the accidental killer of his son, the ruler has deprived his realm of an heir.
When Repin turned to this tragic historical episode, he relied on the historian Nikolai Karamzin's version of events; however, the artist admitted that he was also inspired by “a musical trilogy [by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - T.Y] about love, power and revenge". The idea for the painting took shape at a time when Repin was actively contemplating the meaning of the events of his own day within the wider history of Russia, and his need to find “an outlet for the painful tragedies of our history" was very strong: “My feelings were too heavy with the horrors of our times." Repin was referring to the assassination of Alexander II and the subsequent execution of those from the revolutionary organization “Narodnaya Volya" (People's Will) who had organized it.
The renowned philosopher and theologian Vladimir Soloviev appealed to Alexander III's Christian charity, asking him to obey the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill", and grant clemency to the assassins of the Tsar-Liberator (Alexander II had been named “Liberator" for his emancipation of the serfs in 1861). Nevertheless, the new Emperor ordered the public execution of his father's killers. Repin believed that all these events were interconnected, a malevolent sequence; in a sense, the artist implied that the new Emperor was too weak to halt the bloodshed. The generational struggle between father and son grew into a conflict between the monarchy and the people. These issues became profoundly important for the artist, and would manifest themselves further in his future work.
These paintings are also united by another basic category of being, that of time, a concept always important in art history. It was no accident that Repin turned his attention to it: in a painting, time is always associated with movement. To capture the moment that changes the normal course of life, the instant that transforms the world, was definitely compelling for the artist. Repin often worked for a long time on his paintings; he was not always satisfied with the results, and sometimes he painted several versions of one composition. Such was the case with his “St. Nicholas of Myra".
There is undoubtedly always a sense of hidden possibilities in Repin's art, new observations to be made and interpreted, new meanings to be discovered. Repin often returned to the classic iconography of European art, the essential ideas of the “Appearance", the “Return" and the “Lamentation", and their more modern modifications; such references elevated his art, in its consideration of the meaning of human existence, to an existential level.
Repin frequently wrote about his preference for working alternately on different works, and how he preferred to move from one painting to another. “Having been captivated by one idea, one situation, and one mood for a while, I become incapacitated, quite unable to continue in the same way. A new, opposing idea comes up in a different setting, and I quickly forget the previous one. It seems boring, but not at all exhausted, and I never claim that I would not go back to it at some point," Repin described the process of his creative work, in his letter to Mikhail Fedorov in May 1886. “Everything depends on some creative, or maybe anti-creative idea, which bursts into my mind and which I cannot give up in spite of all sorts of reasons."
Repin was well aware that certain “subjects require a degree of uplifting. Also, the further an idea penetrates the depths of life, the harder it becomes to put it into words, to realize it in short and meaningful phrases. An idea, when understood as a manifestation of a higher order, does not tolerate the ordinary, or the mundane attention of the populace; it has the tendency to fade, spread thin till it becomes intangible [my emphases - T.Y.]. The artist acts thoughtfully when he lets the viewers find their own way to the holy of holies of his soul... Those who are unable to contemplate abstract ideas should look at the glorious, life-like sculptures, and simply admire their rare beauty." These words reveal Repin's desire to protect the cloistered, deeply private world that he inhabited as an artist.
Repin never tired of pointing out the multi-layered nature of art, offering viewers complete freedom to experience his paintings on their own terms. And so each new generation reaches its own vision of his works, one that is distinctive to its particular time, worldview and sense of itself. It is clear today that contemporary viewers do see multiple layers of meaning; for them, a painting is first and foremost a “rendering of history", of those historical events that were important to Repin's contemporaries and could not have failed to leave their mark on the artist, given his sensitivity to the changes of politics and society that were shaking Russia. At the same time, many of Repin's works have transcended their time, becoming in a sense “free from history". Repin was able to take a single event, submerge it into a whirlpool of “basic notions" and archetypes, appeal to the depths of human memory, and thus create a seamless image of the world. Particular social and historical collisions recede into the background to allow the eternal, philosophical questions to come to the fore, in such a way preserving the urgency of the themes that the artist has raised for many generations to come.
- Chukovsky, K. “Repin and Benois // I.Y. Repin and K.I. Chukovsky. Correspondence, 1906-1929". Moscow, 2006. P. 303. Hereinafter - Chukovsky.
- “Repin: the Artist’s Legacy". Moscow, Leningrad, 1948. Vol. 1. P. 293.
- “I.Ye. Repin. Selected Correspondence in Two Volumes". Moscow, 1969. Vol. 2. P. 349. Hereinafter - Repin.
- Chukovsky. P. 219.
- “I.Ye. Repin and V.V. Stasov. Correspondence. Vol. 1. 1871-1876". Moscow, Leningrad, 1948. P. 143. Hereinafter - Repin-Stasov.
- Repin. Vol. 1. P. 199.
- Ibid. P. 230.
- Ibid. P. 311.
- Benois, Alexandre. “History of Russian Painting in the 19th Century". Moscow, 1995. P. 264.
- Ibid. P. 171.
- Radlov, N.E. “From Repin to Grigoriev". Petrograd, 1923. P. 15.
- Rozanov, Vasily. “Selected Works in Two Volumes". Vol. 2. “In Solitude". Moscow, 1990. P. 206.
- Durilin, S.N. “In My Corner". Moscow, 2006. Pp. 844-845.
- Chukovsky. P. 304.
- Ibid. P. 303.
- Ibid. P. 302.
- Ibid. P. 304.
- Repin. Vol. 1. P. 311.
- Scholars do not agree on the exact date of this commission: the earliest surviving pencil drawing, in the Tretyakov Gallery, is dated 1884.
- Repin. Vol. 1. P. 311.
- Ibid. P. 297.
- “I.Y. Repin. Letters. Correspondence with P.M. Tretyakov". Moscow, Leningrad, 1946. P. 136.
- Repin-Stasov. Vol. 2. P. 359.
- Chukovsky. “Madness" // K.I. Chukovsky. P. 309.
- Karamzin, N.M. “History of the Russian State". Moscow, 1997. Vol. 7-9. P. 467.
- Quoted from: Lyaskovskaya, O.A. ‘The Story of Creating “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" by I.Ye. Repin’ // Tretyakov Gallery. Archival and Research Materials. Moscow, 1956. P. 196.
- Repin. Vol. 1. P. 311-312.
- Repin. Vol. 2. P. 260.
Study. Oil on canvas. 61 × 50 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 69 × 57 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 125 × 97.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 204.5 × 147.7 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 143 × 94 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 97 × 76 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 160.5 × 167.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 292.7 × 490 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 215 × 196 cm. © Russian Museum
Oil on canvas. 107.7 × 86 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 93 × 76 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 94.3 × 67 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 196.5 × 71.7 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 52 × 104 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 111 × 65 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 81 × 134.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Oil on canvas. 174 × 210 cm. Private collection