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For me personally this is as good as it gets

Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
edited November 2014 in General Discussion
I saw this on Google+ and I thought a living artist painted it. I thought to myself, this is as good as it gets and I was wondering who he was. But it was Ilya Repin, one of my favorite artists. I had not seen this work before. Everyone will have their own opinion of course, but for me this is supreme realism.


The whole painting can be seen here, love the composition as well!!!

valentincharisswisscot2[Deleted User]rautchetanFlattyKaustavDawnTupedwardKschabenmelTsandwichArtbaidaa


  • @Kingston He linked to the composition and commented on it. I switched the link to an embedded image.
    [Deleted User]
  • The shirt is amazing. There is only about four steps in there, yet every fold is conveyed. Just very subtle changes. Love how the beard gets lost in the shirt. Suddenly, that brings your eyes to the most important part, his face.
  • I've never seen this either. It's fantastic. A great painting to study. I like how @martinvisser described it. Very poetic. All the detail in the face. You know he's reading books but then when your eye moves down the arm you realize it's just a suggestion of books. No detail. I also like the darkness against the light blue background.

  • This is beautiful. But my first thoughts had nothing to do with brushwork or composition, but with emotion. It immediately made me wonder about his story. I love it!
  • edited May 2017

    Little bit of history of this work:

    This is Ilya Repin’s portrait of poet Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin (1884). This painting currently hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    From the Met’s description of the painting:

    “Russian author Vsevolod Garshin specialized in short stories expressing his pacifist beliefs, love of beauty, and aversion to evil. In the early 1880s he became friends with Repin, a leading progressive painter who shared his concern for contemporary political and social problems. This portrait is one of several that Repin made of Russian artists and intellectuals following his return from study in France, as he sought a more national tenor in his work. Four years after it was created, Garshin, scarred by the suicides of his father and brother and his own mental illness, threw himself down a stairwell and died.”

    Repin’s portrait transcends academic realism and the search for likeness. Repin captured Garshin’s pacifism, his empathy, and his tiredness of life behind his eyes. His posture alone lets you feel the emotional burden he carries. I see a gentle yet tortured man, who only four years following this painting’s completion ended his life. This painting overwhelms you with empathy, looking into his eyes in person.

  • This is very true. I always felt that the character is mentally tired.
  • edited May 2017
    I never imagined that he is so tensed...I thought he is just gazing...
  • To an older person that has witnessed despair in the faces of friends and family or his own mirror this painting reflects deeply the burdens of life that some people can never escape. Forums like this and being able to express our emotions in our art help us escape the weight of life and enjoy the light. Garshin couldn't find his way from under the burden. Thanks @rautchetan for posting this. I enjoy history almost as much as I like art.

  • @BOB73 true...I respect this painting even more now after knowing the history behind this
  • Mark I have a question please.... As a beginner I feel I getting many different views on brush strokes/ brush work and texture....It confuses me when we talk about painting and and brushwork that comes naturally verses what some try to do and add marks to convey texture for example on a building or a skull....( is the added marks needed to convey this idea or just paint however) I am sure I am probably not getting what I mean across clearly, sorry for this.

    Andrew Tischler  
    paints in a similar fashion as you, except in layers, his work is realism but towards the end he builds some texture on the skull

    there is a thread in this forum where someone asks about how to apply texture to a building in the background.

    Do you recommend doing any of this or just paint and let whatever strokes come about just happen which seems to be the thought behind the comments above?

    Does adding these texture strokes make paintings less appealing/ lower quality or is it just personal preference? 

    Thank you

  • Haven't gotten an answer so I open the above question up to the forum perhaps the pros can help me understand it better thanks guys. 
  • edited May 2017
    I think both methods are good, @jswartzart. Mark teaches a la prima, (wet in wet) and Geneva paint has leveling properties that make it difficult to build up an impasto surface. But even Mark sometimes works wet on dry.

    Andrew Tischler has a different but equally successful approach. They both work. It just depends on your preference. I like texture in a painting and I can achieve that with the paints I use. But I'd still like to try Geneva paints even though I can't get them in Australia yet.
  • edited May 2017
    @tassieguy thank you for coming back to me with an answer I appreciate it. I really liked the texture and look achieved in Andrews painting, and think his paintings are incredible.
    I have Geneva paints and I love them but I have never done anything in impasto....for me working wet in wet is difficult because I generally don't have the time to get it done before things start drying on me even with the paints being slow dry.
    (And I make a lot of mistakes that always need correcting, or covering over)

    I just don't want to make habits that's lower that quality of paintings, I want to keep improving and wasn't sure about the texture brush strokes if it's totally amateurish or was just preference. Thanks again. 
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