Ilja Riepin

In times when there was no television and cinema, the paintings had the power of visual storytelling. Their overtones could be diverse – they could be moralizing, instructive, playful or even grotesque. One thing was unchangeable – one glance was to make the viewer be drawn into the story. Ilja Riepin was undoubtedly one of the masters of creating heart-catching stories. The power of his influence is demonstrated by this picture, composed as a frame from the culminating moment in the costume drama. Over a hundred years, this image was attacked twice – in 1913 and 2018 – in each case the attacker tried to destroy the part with the characters of the tsar and his son. Today the work is still undergoing conservation, but other Riepin’s paintings can be seen until mid-August at the monographic exhibition in Moscow, and later in 2020 in Paris and 2021 in Helsinki.

Ilja Riepin, Tsar Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, 1885, Galeria Tretiakowska, Moscow

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