Rest. Portrait of Vera Repina, the Artist's Wife. 1882
143 х 94 Oil on canvas

Repin had known Vera Shevtsova (1854–1918) since she was a child. When the young artist appeared in the house of the architect Alexei Ivanovich Shevtsov, the family thought that he was interested in their eldest daughter. But years passed, and he asked in marriage the youngest – Vera. She became the artist’s wife at a very young age, and by the time Rest was painted, they had four children. Ilya Efimovich knew how to create a portrait-picture. This work, performed with special warmth, tells both about the fragility of the young woman (she is 27 years old) and her inner resilience. The portrait is based on a combination of brown, hushed cherry, grey and black colours. It is noble in colour and restrained in tone. There is nothing hasty, deliberate or careless in the picture. There is something fatherly here in his attitude to his wife. People say: “To love is to have compassion”. This feeling moves the artist’s hand. The eldest daughter of P.M. Tretyakov, Vera Siloti, loved Ilya Efimovich’s wife very much. Her memoirs show the depth of feelings and delicacy “of extremely sweet, subtle and charming thanks to her almost childlike simplicity” Vera Repina. “And how sweet she was! She remained for me the ideal of internal femininity, the ideal of the artist’s friend!” – wrote Vera Pavlovna Siloti.

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