An exhibition by the international master Ilya Repin presents some of his most famous historical paintings and portraits of major cultural figures of his time, as well as his works from the Ateneum collection. Born in the territory of present-day Ukraine, Repin is Russia’s most famous painter, and he is also loved by the Finns: his studio home was located on Finnish territory, in Kuokkala in Terijoki, between 1903 and 1930.

  • 27.4.–29.8.2021
3rd floor
Tickets: with a museum ticket
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

A master of psychological portrayals and depictions of Russian folklife

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Ilya Repin (1844–1930) is above all known as a master of psychological portrayals of people and depictions of Russian folklife. The Ateneum is able to display Repin’s best-known paintings with masterful details, including Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–1873) and Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880–1891), both from the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

The exhibition’s many portraits feature members of the artist’s family, as well as cultural influencers of the time, such as the composer Modest Mussorgsky and the author Leo Tolstoy. In all, Repin painted more than 300 portraits, including portrayals of many influential women in culture.

Ilya Repin depicted the Russian people, who had been freed from serfdom in the 1860s, as well as the intelligentsia of the era, and the relationship between the people and their rulers. His work has also strongly influenced the Finnish people’s current perception of the essence of Russianness.

The exhibition is the first review of Repin’s entire career in Finland in the 21st century. The exhibition features more than 140 paintings and paper-based works spanning a period of more than sixty years. Many of the works are shown in Helsinki for the first time. The Ateneum collection also includes a great number of Repin’s works.

The exhibition is realised by the Ateneum Art Museum and the Petit Palais (Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris/Paris Musées), in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Russian Museum. The curator of the exhibition at the Ateneum is the chief curator Timo Huusko. After its time at the Ateneum, the exhibition will be on display at the Petit Palais in Paris.

The exhibition is complemented by the publication of a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with articles by experts, to be made available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The publication is edited by the curator Anne-Maria Pennonen.

Café Ateneum

Café Ateneum on the third floor during the Repin exhibition

Welcome to Café Ateneum! The café serves sweet and savoury delicacies as well as coffee, tea, soft drinks and wine.

Open from Monday to Sunday from 12:00 to 17:00. Entrance only with an admission ticket.

Colour Photos from Repin’s Russia

On display at the café are photographs of Sergey Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky. Russian chemist and photographer Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) was an early pioneer of colour photography and colour cinema. Prokudin-Gorsky made several trips from 1903 onwards to take photographs of the Russian Empire. His work was subsequently endorsed by Tsar Nicholas II.