Portrait of Arkhip Kuinji

Artist: Ilya Repin
Date: 1877
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 147.1 x 104.8 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Arkhip Kuinji collection, St Petersburg; Arkhip Kuinji Society, Leningrad (until 1930)
Style: Realism
Portrait of Arkhip Kuinji


An outstanding Russian portraitist, Ilya Repin generally confined himself to images of relatives and friends in the 1870s. One of the most outstanding works from this period is his portrait of the famous Russian landscapist Arkhip Kuinji.

The portrait was painted over a period of only a few days at Kuinji’s apartment on Vasilyevsky Island in St Petersburg, where Repin was living as a guest in the autumn of 1877. The figure of the sitter seems to emerge from the background, while the artist concentrates on conveying the attentive look in his sparkling eyes.

Ivan Kramskoi, who himself painted several portraits of Arkhip Kuinji, wrote: “Everything about this portrait is first-class. The lively eyes pierce the viewer… The mouth is marvellous… the brow is brilliantly painted and modelled. The entire physiology is vivid and lifelike. The wonderful figure, the overcoat, the clumsy gait – everything conveys the impression of an amiable man from the east.”

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