I. Repin first heard about I. Kramskoy even before coming to Sankt Petersburg and admission to the IAH, when in the summer of 1863 he painted churches in the village of Sirotino in the Voronezh province with an iconographic artel. Their acquaintance took place in the winter of 1863 in the Drawing School of the Academy of Fine Arts, which Repin visited before entering the IAH and where he taught Kramskoy in the plaster class. He had a serious influence on the creative and moral maturation of Repin. Repin was an active visitor to the “Thursday” evenings of the Artists’ Club, headed by Kramskoy. The artists were associated with many years of correspondence.
After Kramskoy’s death, Repin published memories of his teacher and elder friend. The chapter in “Far and near”, dedicated to Ivan Nikolayevich Kramskoy, has a precious subtitle: “The memory of the teacher.” The love of people and the world, which lives in every line of Repin’s
memoirs, is lively here. Ilya Yefimovich talks about “making life with someone” decided in his difficult youth.
Kramskoy taught draftsmen in a school called “the Stock Exchange”.
“… I saw a lean man in a black frock coat, stepping hard into the classroom… What eyes! You can not hide, for nothing that small ones sit deep in hollow orbits, gray ones glow.” Here he stopped before the work of one student. face… But the voice is pleasant, sincere… Something he will tell me? 1 And today I’m going somehow mottled and rude… Here he is behind my back…
– Ah, how nice! Fine, you’re in For the first time here?
“I somehow broke off the voice, and I felt I could not answer.”
He went on to the details of my drawing, very true noticed mistakes, and it seemed to me that he somehow distinguished me… He gave me his address and invited me to visit him, he hit me in paint and sweat. “
A few days later, Repin decided to go to Kramskoy on the Sixth Line of Vasilievsky Island. Togo was
not at home. A few hours of agonizing waiting, and again failure. In the third arrival of Kramskoy was at home:
“- Yes, I know, you know, you came already twice, – his tired, tired voice sounded…” This proves that you have a character… We will have a cup of tea together, undress. ”
This was said so cordially, just as a friend for a long time and an equal person. ” The gracious atmosphere of the first evening with the tired Kramskoy will henceforth be the magical Repin air that will remain in the letters and memoirs of many and many contemporaries who visited Repin for many years of his life. During the first tea with Kramskoy, the question of whether to serve the idea or “mammon” was discussed. “All this was for me such a novelty,” Repin wrote, “it was said with such feeling and so simply that I hardly believed my ears…
He himself was excited by his ideas…
His exhaustion was long gone; his voice sounded like silver, and his thoughts, new, bright, seemed to flare up in his brain and eloquently sounded… I was deeply shocked…
Far after midnight… I started to fuss and again remembered his tiredness.
He himself shone me on the black staircase…
From that time I often went to Kramskoy and was afraid only that he would not get bored. “
The portrait is full of lyrical tenderness. The sad image of a patient already sick, who has endured in silence a great man. Of small, light strokes, a shining face with deep eyes is fashioned; wondrous head shape; proud proud shoulders.
Kramskoy painted and wrote Repin many times. Whom exactly? Ivan Nikolaevich, his teacher, “shone on the black staircase”? Leader of the Great Partnership? Tired, exhausted in the struggle for the life of an elderly person? No. Repin wrote a creator, an artist. He embodied the image of a unique portrait painter whose art had a formative influence in Repin’s youth.