Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Russian Vision: The Art of Ilya Repin Hardcover – October 16, 2015 by David Jackson ( Antique Collectors Club)

To those of you (us) artist looking for inspiration away from the shrill squeal of Koons, Hirst, etc., take heart. There is art available to inspire as never before. This book is the perfect example of inspiration. Ten years ago Repin was all but unknown to most of us in the west. Thanks to a groundbreaking show in 2002 at the Groninger Museum in Holland his genius has been exposed to the rest of the world. Now we have this wonderful resource.

I count about 100 color reproductions in this books. Of that 100, I would say that about six are below standard. Most are in the good to excellent range. That assessment might change were I to be standing in front of the paintings with the book in hand. But I, like most of the reviewers here, will most likely never be in the presence of the originals. My guess is that we might be very disheartened by most of our art books were we to judge their reproductions by the originals. If you are worried about the quality of the reproductions, do not.

Repin is rightly held in the highest esteem for his portrayal of personalities in his portraits and his dramatic compositions in many of his large historical work. His portraits are stunning! The book does an outstanding job of reproducing some of his best. To top it all off, the book is very readable. No deconstruction. No revelations regarding his sexual life. The text follows a thematic approach as opposed to a strait biography. The author quite clearly states his reason for writing the book: "The purpose of this book then is simple if ambitious; to place Repin back in the public arena and to re consolidate a formidable and once familiar talent within the discipline of art history." Well done Dr Jackson!

For those of you who like Serov, Kroyer, Zorn, Zuloaga, Sorolla, Degas, Sargent, Mancini, etc., you will really appreciate this book on Repin!

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