Sunday, October 7, 2012

Illya Repin: Russia's Norman Rockwell

It's humbling a great to "discover" an artist who inspires you so much, but had existed for so long without your knowing.  At Tokyo's Bunkamura Museum,   I was lucky stumble up on the works of Illya Repin (1844 -1930) a great Russian painter whose works can mentioned in the same breath as Leo Tolstoy as being one of Russia's great artistic treasures.

Without a doubt a master painter in terms of his ability to capture realism.  (At a time where impressionism was becoming the new flavor of the month)  His ability to capture the spirit of people almost borders on caricature and almost has an "animated" feel to it.

Subtle caricature,  dramatic staging as well as subtle social commentary, there is certainly something Norman Rockwell-ish about Repin.   There is this love of people and ability to capture the most appealing or compelling parts of people in his paintings and portraits.  Truly inspiring.  Today will be the last day Repin will be exhibited at Bunkamura in Tokyo but someday a trip to St. Petersberg's Russian Museum would be more than worth it to see his works up close again.