Portrait of Ivan Shishkin

Artist: Ivan Kramskoi
Date: 1880
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 115.5 x 83.5 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Academy of Arts Museum, Petrograd (until 1923)
Style: Realism
Portrait of Ivan Shishkin


This portrait of Ivan Shishkin occupies a prominent place in the famous gallery of Russian artists, composers and writers painted by Ivan Kramskoi. The two men were good friends and their closeness is reflected in this intimate and relaxed image of the famous Russian landscapist, whom Kramskoi first portrayed in 1873.

Shishkin’s talented nature is conveyed by the intent gaze of his twinkling eyes, the calm and confident pose and the natural gesture of his hands. Contrasting the dark figure with the neutral light-grey background, the artist focuses attention on the sitter’s open and contemplative face, surrounded by a thick mane of unruly hair.

This psychological portrait is heightened by the distinct and austere composition, the play of light and shade and the expressive silhouette, creating the sensation of a powerful and spiritual nature. Ivan Kramskoi’s vivid image brilliantly captures the artist’s sense of his own personal dignity, independence and unaffected manners.

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