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Portrait of Modest Musorgsky by Ilya Repin

20 February 2022
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Portrait of Modest Musorgsky by Ilya Repin


Among the portraits created by Repin, this work occupies a special place. As you know, the master painted this portrait a few days before the great composer’ death, which adds a special drama and depth to the picture.

We see obviously a seriously ill person, considering the unhealthy redness of the face and sparkling eyes. The author concentrates the viewer's attention on the composer's face, as if trying to convey the secret of Mussorgsky's genius. Tousled hair, a runny beard and mustache do not distract us from the main thing, from the composer's gaze. Sadness, longing is read in his eyes. In the meantime, these eyes belong to an energetic and strong person. A hospital gown and an embroidered shirt are painted by the artist schematically, they do not emphasize pain, but are designed to frame the main thing - the face, the head, the evocative turn of which allows one to think that until the last moment of his life this person was struggling with his illness.

The background in the portrait is "empty", made free from any details. One might think that Mussorgsky was depicted against a background of clouds. A feeling of grandeur and grandeur of the depicted is created. He himself is like his music: special, indomitable, powerful, unique. This music sounds in his eyes. There are also unfinished works, non-embodied ideas, music that he will never compose ...
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