Artist. Considered the most prominent figure of nineteenth-century Russian realism. He was the son of a peasant, and as a young boy he earned money by painting portraits and icons to save money for entering the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, where he studied from 1864 to 1871. His graduation work, The Resurrection of Jairus' Daughter, won the Gold Medal and a six-year scholarship (including three years of travel abroad). After traveling through Europe and staying in Paris, Repin returned to Russia. In 1878 he became a member of the Itinerants (Wanderers), who rebelled against the academic formalism of the official Academy, and was a constant participant in their exhibitions. He served as a professor, as head of the studio affiliated with the Petersburg Academy of Arts, and as director of the Academy in 1898-1899. A painter of landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits, he was also an accomplished master of drawing, as well as lithographs. He painted portraits, with a profound psychological character, of the most notable men of the Russian Empire of his day, totalling over 300 in all. In 1900, during a trip to Paris, Repin met Natalia Nordman, the "love of his life", and moved to her home, Penaty, in Kuokkala (then Finland). This estate soon became an established center of Russian artistic and literary activity in the early twentieth century. In his late years, handicapped by the atrophy of his right hand, Repin could not produce works of the same quality as those which brought him fame. Although he trained himself to paint with his left hand, he lived his last years under a constant financial strain. Since the artist did not accept the Revolution of 1917, he did not want to go back to Russia, even though in 1926 a delegation sent by the Ministry of Education of the Soviet Union helped him financially and tried to entice him to return. To acknowledge and commemorate Repin's artistic achievement, in 1948 Kuokkala was renamed Repino. Repin's most famous paintings are ‘Ivan the Terrible killing his son' (1885), ‘Burlaks on the Volga' (1870-73), and ‘The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan of Turkey' (1878-91).
Bio by: julia&keld